Dig

Dig

The Garden Chronicles - Week 3

  
By:  Dig  •  Gardening  •  2 years ago  •  37 comments

The Garden Chronicles - Week 3
April showers bring... more April showers, apparently.

Ah, spring. Cold turns to warmth, brown turns to green, and flowers begin to bloom as the sun climbs higher in the sky with each passing day. The earth practically begs to be worked, and so, without hesitation, you work it.  A warm breeze, the sun on your face, the faint but crisp smell of earth being turned. Few things are better. You've been looking forward to it all winter.

There's something wonderful about freshly-tilled ground. So new and rich, so clean and orderly. A blank canvas, nothing but promise. Eye-pleasing. Soul-soothing.

And then the sky opens up, again and again, and turns your glorious worked earth to muck.

original

So goes gardening in the spring.

original

A sunrise from earlier in the week, before the deluge commenced.

original

Luckily, a perfectly timed respite from the rain on Friday afternoon allowed me to take some pictures for this week's blog.

original

A muddy mess, but not a complete washout.

original

I had a few things started indoors, and of course the heavy rains began as soon as I put them out. These are the first lettuces of the year, 2 icebergs. The circles around them are from buckets used as protection. New lettuce transplants don't take storm beatings very well.

original

Another transplant. The first cucumber of the year.

original

The last transplant of the week. The first zucchini. It's not in the main garden, though. It's in a small side plot of its own.

original

Back in the main garden, the potatoes are coming up. Note the pebbles exposed by the rain. I have some fairly rocky soil. No matter how many buckets I haul out every year, they're always still there. They're not very noticeable when the soil is loose from being recently tilled or hoed, but they show up everywhere after a heavy rain.

original

The onion sets are also coming up.

original

Along with the first turnips.

original

The peas handled the heavy rains pretty well.

original

The asparagus keeps coming, no matter the weather. The only thing it doesn't like is cold, which is more than likely over for the year.

original

Here's this year's garden plan, by the way. I meant to post it earlier, but kept forgetting.

original

My new outdoor seed starter is working like a champ so far. These pots were started indoors about 2 weeks ago, and went outside on Monday. It poured and poured on them all week long. There was even a little bit of pea-sized hail, but the covered planter worked exactly as planned. It was put to the test right off the bat, and it passed with flying colors. The seedlings weren't disturbed by the foul weather at all.

original

Happy little plants.

original

Elsewhere in the yard, a snowball bush is almost ready to bloom. Note the standing water in the grass on the lower right. Rain, rain, rain.

original

This redbud is starting to fade away.

original

But this one is still hanging in there.

original

The first irises of the year are starting to bloom, but only on the south side of the house. Others around the yard aren't quite there yet.

original

The last of the tulips.

original

May apples in the woods.

original

A honey locust tree. King of thorns.

original

I read recently that the thorns probably evolved to deter Pleistocene megafauna. Mammoths, giant sloths, etc. I imagine they did the job well. I know I'm certainly deterred.

original

A pair of goldfinches, male and female.

original

A downy woodpecker.

original

The oaks are finally starting to leaf out.

See you next week.

Tags

jrBlog - desc
[]
 
Dig
Professor Guide
1  author  Dig    2 years ago

And of course it rained again overnight.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2  Dulay    2 years ago

Yesterday got my plot rototilled, added amendments and cultivated just in time for today's all day rain. Still too early here to put anything out but my master bath [with it's skylight] is full of starts and getting pretty crowded. So far, no death by kitten. 

Putting up a new trellis for cucs, squash and beans and moving my compost bin in this year so plenty to keep me busy while it warms up. 

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.1  author  Dig  replied to  Dulay @2    2 years ago

Does looking at your fresh-tilled soil lift your spirits? It always does for me.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Dulay  replied to  Dig @2.1    2 years ago

Absolutely. 

On the other hand, many long unused muscles have demanded attention today too.

Every year I forget what a BEAST my rototiller is.

I had to do a shot of whiskey before I could open my hands all the way again. 

At least that's what I told myself...

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.1.2  author  Dig  replied to  Dulay @2.1.1    2 years ago

Ha. I'm always sore after spring tilling as well. It's like waking muscles up from winter hibernation, and not in a very gentle way.

I'm fully recovered now, though, and ready for more. I'm done with tilling until the corn goes in, but I'll be hoeing like crazy when things dry out.

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2.1.3  Dulay  replied to  Dig @2.1.2    2 years ago

Last year my wife inherited a hi wheel hoe and I intend to put her to work with it this year...

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
2.1.4  charger 383  replied to  Dulay @2.1.3    2 years ago

A good tool, the things we get from the old folks can help us

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2.1.5  Dulay  replied to  charger 383 @2.1.4    2 years ago

I've watched some videos on it. I still have to get the tines off to make it easier to sharpen them. It's been used as an ornament for far too long. Time to put it to work. 

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.1.6  author  Dig  replied to  Dulay @2.1.3    2 years ago

I used one of those once at my Grandma's when I was a teenager. IIRC, it was pretty clumsy and unwieldy, and didn't want to go through hard, compacted soil at all. Maybe you'll have better luck with yours. Maybe I just didn't know what I was doing back then.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.7  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dulay @2.1.3    2 years ago
hi wheel hoe

I had to look that up.  I'd never seen one before.

 
 
 
GregTx
Junior Participates
2.1.8  GregTx  replied to  Dulay @2.1.5    2 years ago

Have you gotten an aquaponics setup going yet?

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2.1.9  Dulay  replied to  GregTx @2.1.8    2 years ago

I had it up that year but broke my ankle and had to back off of it. 3 months in a boot and crutches. Blew my hole growing season. 

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2.1.10  Dulay  replied to  Dig @2.1.6    2 years ago

Well I used the hi wheel today and it works good on tilled soil but the wife said it was NO FUN. I used the gas cultivator attachment on my Craftsman weed whacker. Kicked my ass but it's all done and ready for planting. 

I don't know what got into me but I bought some artichoke starts when I picked up the peat and mushroom compost. Now I have to expand my perennial bed. jrSmiley_76_smiley_image.gif  

 
 
 
GregTx
Junior Participates
2.1.11  GregTx  replied to  Dulay @2.1.9    2 years ago

Well damn, sorry to hear that. IIRC you're in a cooler part of the country. Out of curiosity what type of fish had you decided to try?

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2.1.12  Dulay  replied to  GregTx @2.1.11    2 years ago

I used mostly goldfish but I did about 20 tilapia too and they did well in the summer. I 'harvested' the tilapia when they were still smaller than I'd like but I just couldn't keep up with it on crutches [I still limp at the end of a long day]. My test system worked well, grew a lot of greens, vegies and herbs without any fertilizers other than 'fish poop'. 

In late fall my mom fell ill and I ended up staying with her on and off for 3 months. Age seems to have caught up with us and it at any given time someone in our family has been ill and needed care. We lost my auntie the next fall after a long fight with a brain aneurysm, I was back and forth to Chicago to spell my Uncle and make her laugh. My wife's parents moved from Wisconsin and I spent the next year expanding my property management business and repairing the house they bought. The bathroom was a wreck, the basement a pit and the yard was a jungle. So I went back to growing a large outside garden and just using the GH for starts and as a sort of workshop and storing firewood. One whole side is still set up for aquaculture but the tanks are dry and the beds are empty. Maybe now that I am semi retired I can get my ass in gear and get it going again next year. 

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
3  pat wilson    2 years ago

I really enjoy your garden articles. I grew up in the mid-west, the May Apples and Locust tree brings back memories.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  pat wilson @3    2 years ago
May Apples

Those are how I know when all the false starts are over and spring is really here.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.2  author  Dig  replied to  pat wilson @3    2 years ago

Thanks, Pat. I was hoping to take a few pictures of morel mushrooms in the woods, but I couldn't find any. It might be too late for them. Not sure, though. I've never been much of a mushroom hunter, but they'd have made a nice addition to the blog if I'd found any.

Turkeys have been gobbling in the mornings. They used to come right up into the yard sometimes, but not so much anymore. Too many dogs around these days.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.2.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @3.2    2 years ago

All of my friends who hunt morels were eating them weeks ago, and we're north of you, so I think you may have missed them.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.2.2  author  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.2.1    2 years ago

Yeah, I probably did. I never hunt for them so I wasn't sure of the timing. It was nice looking for them, though. The woods aren't full of spiderwebs and bugs yet.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
3.2.3  pat wilson  replied to  Dig @3.2.2    2 years ago

Do you see Violets and Dutchman's Britches in the woods ?

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.2.4  author  Dig  replied to  pat wilson @3.2.3    2 years ago

Small violets grow all over the yard every spring before the grass is cut. At least I think they're violets.

I'm not sure about the Dutchman's Britches, but there are many wildflowers that I'm not familiar with. I could probably only recognize about a dozen or so different kinds on sight. The rest are a mystery to me.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
3.2.5  pat wilson  replied to  Dig @3.2.4    2 years ago

Here's a pic...

512

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.2.6  author  Dig  replied to  pat wilson @3.2.5    2 years ago

Oh, okay. Those are pretty neat. I'm not sure if I've ever seen them before or not. I'll be sure to take some pictures if I come across any, if it isn't already too late for them.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
4  charger 383    2 years ago

I got a happy surprise this week, one of the tomato plants growing in window sill gave me a cherry tomato, it was a great treat and why I seed them on New Years Day.  

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
4.1  author  Dig  replied to  charger 383 @4    2 years ago

That's kind of amazing. I don't think I know anyone who's ever had a tomato before April was out.

I'm usually happy if I start getting them before the Fourth.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
5  charger 383    2 years ago

Today, I set up the hoop house.  A frame you put a plastic tarp over that is supposed to be  fitted for the frame and then you can take off when it warms up.  10 tomatoes went in deep holes,  that will give them a headstart .   

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
5.1  author  Dig  replied to  charger 383 @5    2 years ago

I always wanted to grow corn in one of those, but with insect screen on it, not the insulating greenhouse plastic. I thought it might be a nice, pesticide-free way of keeping those damn moths away, the ones that lay the eggs that become ear worms. I hate ear worms. Disgusting things.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
5.1.1  charger 383  replied to  Dig @5.1    2 years ago

It might work but would have to be taller than mine.   Been several years since I grew corn.  I remember my father dusting the corn with lime, but if he saw anything bothering the corn he used seven dust  

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
5.1.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @5.1    2 years ago
I hate ear worms. Disgusting things.

Ugh, yes.  I don't grow corn, but a neighbor brings me some from his garden every year.  One year, the ear worms had eaten about half of it.  It looked fine until it was shucked, and then blech.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
5.1.3  author  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @5.1.2    2 years ago

They're usually only on the tops of my ears, so I just cut that part off and still have probably 90% of good, untouched corn leftover. 

But yeah, they are blech. I've tried and tried to fight them, but gave up in the end. I simply don't want to spray poisonous chemicals on everything, so I put up with it.

You know, with all the bug damage a person notices in a home garden, it really makes you think about how much pesticide must be on the store-bought stuff to keep it looking so nice. Especially layered things like cabbage, and textured things like broccoli, where the bugs can get inside and hide from it.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6  Buzz of the Orient    2 years ago

Thanks for another virtual taste of gardening.  Beautiful sunny warm day today, so my wife and I went out and played about an hour of pingpong - there are outdoor tables next to our building.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7  Ender    2 years ago

Looking good. I don't know anyone that has tried cantaloupes. My sister has tried to grow grapes for several years but every time they start to fruit some critter eats them.

The redbud has bloomed for a while.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
7.1  author  Dig  replied to  Ender @7    2 years ago

Cantaloupes grow great in the summer heat. If a person can grow watermelons where they live, then they can grow cantaloupes. Most people grow them on the ground, but I grow them on a trellis. I tried it one year as a space-saving measure and have done it ever since. They simply fall off one at a time when they're almost ready, and then get taken inside to sit for a couple more days to finish ripening up. Sometimes they crack when they hit the ground, depending mostly on the variety (how heavy they are), but the variety I'm using this year has worked really well in the past.

Cold, ripe cantaloupe is such a treat in the late summer heat.