Saturday, March 26, 2011

Let Me Catch You Up

I can't believe it's been nearly a month and a half since I last posted. So much for New Year's resolutions! At least I'm good about taking pictures. I always mean to get over here and make a post, it just doesn't always happen. Anyway!

I know the rest of the country has been buried under a ton of snow all winter but we somehow managed to escape relatively unharmed. Toward the end of Feb. we got a few inches if that.

It all melted a few days later...

At this point I've been able to get a few things out and planted in the garden. Last fall when I pulled all my onions I had a few that didn't quite bulb properly. I kept them in a nice cool dry place all winter and instead of planting the seedlings I started I just used my bulb sets. I also managed to plunk in some spinach and radish seeds too. I checked in the garden today and a few of them have actually sprouted - yay!

You probably don't remember but three years ago I was out planting my pea seeds in a nice downpour (if you wait for it to stop raining here your garden won't get planted till July 5th.) This year however there was a break in our usual rainy dreariness. I took advantage of it to get my peas planted. I couldn't believe what a difference it was! It was sunny and pleasant that day. Ah, to always have such nice spring weather to plant in... if only.

I did have a flat of seedlings I started inside and hardened off. About a week or so ago I managed to get outside and get them planted. So far they've stood up to frost and a few small hail storms.


I might have mentioned earlier that I've been having a bit of trouble in the asparagus bed. I threw some cheap straw on it last fall thinking that it would protect the crowns from snow. Well, yeah, it was cheap for a reason - it was full of seeds that sprouted. Erps. In any other bed it would've made brilliant green manure but with perennial asparagus crowns just below the surface it wasn't like I could till it under.

Instead I had to rake it all up and try to get out as much of the grass as possible. I came up pretty easily and I even found a few cut worms which I promptly kicked out of my garden. But overall I don't think I did this bed any favors. While the straw did keep the wee bit of snow off the crowns it also acted like a sponge and held a TON of water. I only noticed three crowns shooting after clearing away all the straw. That's not to say that with the straw gone the soil won't warm up a bit more and a few other crowns might come up but I did find a crown or two that were completely rotten from being soaked all winter. The soil is too dense here for asparagus I think. If I want this bed to succeed I need to get the mix right. I'd have to add some sand to loosen it up. On the bright side I did chuck all that old straw and grass into my reworked compost pile and it was steaming hot when I went to check on it this afternoon.

However, the asparagus is mostly for my husband and two days ago the doctor told him he shouldn't be eating that or mushrooms. So now what? I'm thinking I just pull all the crowns and see which ones are salvageable and pull the chives at the end of the bed too, add in a bunch more compost to get the ground level up for better drainage, add some sand into the mix and replant them in much smaller quantities. If they die next year it's a sign from above I shouldn't be trying to grow asparagus!

I might have mentioned I got a bird feeder? It was so full of birds on the first day of spring it really made me so happy! I love the little yellow finch on the right. There are a lot of different kinds of birds that come to visit and I've been slowly trying to figure out what they all are.

Also, one should always turn the compost frequently! One of the days I spent planting out the in garden I also took some time to deal with my long neglected compost pile. This really could be a whole post unto itself but since this one is a bit long winded already I'll spare you the details. At any rate I jabbed my pitch fork into the pile, fliped a big hunk of compost into the next bin and lo and behold a whole family of mice go swarming out of it! lol... Of course my five year old daughter was delighted and wanted to know if we could catch and keep them. They were admittedly cute but yeah, NO. One of them was determined to get back "home" a while later when I was cleaning up and I managed to get a picture of just it's little nose sticking out of a crack behind the bin. (Look right where the two boards of the fence meet and you can make out his/her little nose)

This was the garden a few days ago... still not much to look at.

The peach tree is in bloom but I'm bummed that I might have waited a bit too long to spay it as it leafed out with more peach leaf curl. Ug. Oh and I also found what might be evidence of borer activity. I really hope I won't have to ditch this poor little tree. It's so not healthy. Note to self: do NOT impulse shop in the plant dept. of Home Depot again... especially when picking out trees! Meh.

...and that is all! I'm going to try to get back to a weekly posting here so hopefully the next entry won't be quite so long. Thanks for stickin' with me though this one. Happy Spring Everyone!


Annie's Granny said...

YAY, you're back! I was afraid you'd overdosed on Valentine candy ;-)

I'm thinking your garden looks pretty good for this time of year, way ahead of mine. Too bad about the straw. I love straw in my garden, but I'd sure hate it if it were full of seeds. Cute mouse, but I'm glad your daughter didn't talk you into taming them!

I gave up on our peach tree several years ago. Delicious peaches, but the borers and leaf curl did it in.

Robin said...

Well it looks like your garden is in spring mode! I had some bad straw last year too...not as bad as yours though!

That's a cute little mouse!! I can see why your daughter wanted to catch them for pets!

icebear said...

Yay, glad you are back bolgging. It looks like most of the garden bloggers i follow are just getting back into it from the long winter's nap. I like the neat look of your garden beds and the cold frames at the ends. It has a nice orderly look to it. Soon it will all be full of green!

Liisa said...

Looking good Jenn. Must have been nice for you to get some planting done without getting wet. I'm starting to understand what it might be like to live in your neck of the woods... we have had just about non stop rain for about three weeks. I think we have finally gotten past the worst of it. The weather report as of this morning shows no rain for the next 5 days but more coming. This would have been the year to setup a rain collection system.

Randy Emmitt said...

Glad to see you back. Those garden beds look great! It would be easy to make a hoop house cold frame over one of those next year. We just uncovered our cold frames, the greens are starting to bolt. Been eating salad and greens since the third week of January.

Megan said...

welcome back! You're garden is looking lovely! Glad to hear somebody has avoided some of this snow!

Just Jenn said...

Granny - No such thing as too much chocolate! ;^) And I don't know what you're talking about, your garden always puts mine to shame! Yeah, I really needed to get some good straw but went with cheap and convenient. I should always remember that everything has a price! I just had to pay mine later. It was a good mix for the compost pile though - once I ripped it all out and dumped it in the bin it heated it up to about 100*. No mice in my house! I do have some hard and fast rules, that'd be one of 'em. ;^) Peach tree looks bad again this year. Possibly even worse then last year. I'll have to make a post about it. Ug.

Robin, it is *finally* starting to feel a wee bit like spring - woo! Mice are cutest outside. Heehee.

Icebear, I probably could garden blog all year round if my life wasn't so dang busy. But yeah, always the most to talk about in the spring. Lot's going on!

Liisa, It was lovely to have a sunny (warmish) day to plant in. You guys are getting pretty drenched down there!

Randy, I always *mean* to make a hoop house. I even have the hardware, just not the flexible piping. Ah, someday I'll get my act together. ;^) I'd love to get a jump on salad greens. It's so hard to eat store bought produce in the winter. I miss the garden greens.

Megan, Thanks! Didn't have any control over the snow but it was fun the day we did get it. I feel bad though, I've got some friends that are still posting pictures of FEET of snow surrounding their houses. That's just not right since it's nearly April!