Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting Serious about Gardening

It is March 22nd and the weather this weekend has been fabulous. I am trying hard to remind myself that we could still get snow, but it feels like spring. I have been getting serious about taking care of some gardening projects, despite the fact I've been struggling with fatigue and some days have almost zero energy. Fortunately, I am finding that getting outside in the warm, fresh air, or even doing inside gardening, such as starting seeds, gives me a real boost. I now have basil and cabbage seeds up and in the basement under the grow lights. Tomatoes have been started in peat pots and are awaiting germination on the heat mat. It is so hard to wait for those first sprouts! Outside, I have planted a few peas 'Tall Telephone' with a ring of pink radishes further out around the pea trellis. I quickly installed some plastic poultry fencing around the planting to keep nibbling rabbits away.

There was a spot in the garden between two raised beds where I had unfortunately allowed the lawn to move in as I lacked the energy to keep up such a large garden. But now that I have extra garden boxes to fit in the garden and once again need the space, we decided to burn off the grass and weeds and lay down mulch. I think I'll use part of this area to plant some of the larger tomatoes that will go in the ground instead of in a garden box. Since they'll be growing at the edge of the garden I'll still be able to pick the ripe fruit even if the garden is too wet to walk through. My last project of the day was to rake out and weed the raised bed where I'll plant the lettuce seed. I must have hauled 4 or 5 cart loads of dried weeds, sticks, and old plant material I didn't get cleaned out of the garden last fall, into the wooded area where I dump organic waste. The old brush acts as a mulch and helps keep down the invasive garlic mustard that is trying to take hold. I still have two additional raised beds to clean out, but that won't take very long. I'll use one for onions and cilantro. I'm not sure what will go in the other one. Maybe I'll use it for parsley and basil.

Other signs of spring I spotted were the daylilies and irises really starting to show, some grape hyacinths in bloom, the French Sorrel peaking up through the mulch, and some of the lilacs starting to bud. The rhubarb is even starting to come up, even though it doesn't look like much yet! This was a perfect weekend to get serious about gardening. It was a real pleasure working outside in mild temperatures under a warm sun without high humidity or insects buzzing about. If I could, I'd put in an order for several more weekends just like this one.

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