4-11 Progress Report

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I put in round two of sweet peas… even though round one has not yet sprouted (grrrrr).  Next week I’ll put in the last succession planting of peas, and today, the last succession planting of lettuce.  That will end the period of direct seeding my early spring crops.  Next week, I will probably start my cuke, and pumpkin seeds indoors.  The tomato, pepper, herb, and flower starts are all doing fine indoors, and should be ready to set out to harden off by the first week in May.

The really surprising and good news isn’t about the vegetable bed at all.  It is about the native shade bed that I thought the chickens had utterly destroyed last year.  The bed is ten years old; many of the plants are in a similar age range, and that bed has had to tolerate some serious neglect over the last several years.  I’ve been in a “re-establish this bed” frame of mind for a year or so.  So much so that I started foxglove and lupine seeds this spring in order to have “something” to put there while I slowly replace the more expensive and slow-to-get-established native perennials.  But the Bellwort came up, and the Maidenhair ferns came up, and the false solomon’s seal came up.  The native iris came up, and as I may have mentioned last time, the bloodroot, the black cohosh, the monkshood and viriginia bluebells are still there, alive and photosynthesizing!  Miracle of miracles!

I found some cheap (and I mean sho’ nuff cheap) columbine to add to the bed and literally had a difficult time finding a place to plant them because everywhere I opened the earth I found “something” with a living root system.   I had planned to hand spade the soil — which over the years has has become shockingly compacted, and manually improve it with massive additions of compost. I hesitate to do so, now that I see how many living plants are still actually present.  I wouldn’t want to put the more delicate ones at risk.  So I will have to be satisfied aggressively top dressing the bed with compost (oh poor me!  You mean I won’t have days of backbreaking shovel work ahead of me??).

The coming week’s tasks:

harvest asparagus every other day.

mulch plum and apple trees.

replace Doggy-do-not-tinkle-on-these-trees barriers

quietly curse until my vegetable seeds actually sprout; also thin my turnips, which actually have sprouted

feed my roses, those high maintenance little hussies

huff and pace and wonder why my gooseberry bush and paw-paw tree have not yet arrived in the mail

huff and pace and wonder why my replacement fig trees have not yet arrived in the mail

get MOVING on building the new gate to the vegetable garden.

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2 thoughts on “4-11 Progress Report

  1. JanMont says:

    What do you intend to do with your paw-paws? Do you like them?

    • Sho'Nuff says:

      Hallo, JanMont — The basic rule that governs my plant choices is that they need to participate in a fully functioning and diverse backyard ecology. To do that, every plant is required to work: to either feed someone, or house someone. The paw-paws, then are part of a native woodland restoration area of my back yard. I like them because they serve a function. This is much more important to me, as an organic gardener, than their aesthetic value, though I do think their leaves are quite exotic. I plan to eat the fruits if I still live here when they begin to produce. Have you ever tasted paw-paw fruit? I never have. I’m curious to try.

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