Tuesday, October 19, 2010
March 17 2010
Wed 17 Mar 2010
There is quite the difference between today and the last time I wrote. It's 60F out there today and hopefully for the rest of the week. Most of the snow is gone except on the north facing side of my mountain. One can't allow one's self to believe it will last though I've known years we've gotten 5' in one day at the end of April. But for now, today, there is this lovely window of time. Yesterday I cleaned off one of the raised beds in the garden. The earliest I've ever done it I think.
I actually was able to harvest some thyme. A little bland but it was wonderful to get something from the garden into dinner again.
The most dangerous thing when we have weather like this is I see people raking off their perennial beds. It's way too soon to assume one can uncover them, except the most hardy of plants. It looks nice now but it can be havoc on the borders. I know this from early experiences
I have four 4' x 16' raised beds in the garden for vegetables and two 2' x 16' for herbs and flowers. (This doesn't include the perennial beds by the patio or the front shade gardens ) Small historically, but as I've said I've cut back in the last few years. This year I have to rebuild the beds. I refuse to use treated lumber so the wood rots eventually; sooner then I thought actually. I'm going to try using 4" x 12" cement blocks on their side with gravel filled between in the 2' paths. Maybe I'll put wood on top. This will make the beds even with the paths so technically not "raised" but the principle is the same. Lots of work though but I have help so that works out.
I'm hoping in the next few years to expand the garden a little. Probably behind the greenhouse on the south side but we'll see how the time and energy demands are. I can get three or four 4' x 8' beds back there I think. One of the biggest mistakes of new gardeners (and let's be honest; experienced too heh) is to take on too much too soon and build a huge garden with a large variety of plants. And with the new gardener a large variety of plants they don't know how to grow yet. Best to start small and build up and see how much time and energy one can expend and stop when you reach it. Easy to say. Hard to do.
I was very tempted this last week or so to get the stuff I need to start tomatoes and squash indoors as in the past. To the point where I even priced them down at my favorite nursery. Then I decided that the project I really want to try this year is to not only grow tomatoes in the garden but try them in the greenhouse too. As I stated before; tomatoes and other warm season crops are a trial and hit or miss up here. The greenhouse rolls up on each long side up to about 18" for ventilation and I'm going to build screen doors with fencing to keep the cats out, as well as fence in the 18" space on the sides. My and the neighbors cats are my worst pests up here. They think those lovely beds are just glorified kitty boxes! Fencing instead of traditional door/window screening so the bees and such can get in there.
I'm considering a drip irrigation system to help on the watering work as it will be dry in there. When I opened the greenhouse yesterday mid morning it was already 100 degrees in there so I have to do that earlier now; and leave it open for the day and close it before the sun goes down. Lots to remember I may need a fan for air circulation but we'll see.
Tomato growing, as I've said, is quite a challenge up here and in the region and again, as I've said, with the wet season and blight last year it was a real problem last year. The buzz in the nursery when I was there this weekend was all about this years hope for tomatoes. We all agreed we'll be happy to get ONE. Imagine the feast for that: one would have to do something very special. Though eating them warm in the sun, raw in the garden is probably best.
I find that Gardeners and those that enjoy cooking... and eating can be the most friendly people. In any other type of store everyone stands in line minding their own business but at the nursery we are all talking about what we are doing and hoping to do and giving and taking advice.
The picture above is the baby spinach coming up. There is also Swiss Chard, a red lettuce and broccoli raab. No sign of the leeks yet. I have faith though.