Posted in Progress

Garden Growth–8th May, 2019

Keenly aware of our predicted 122 day growing season, we’re itching to get more into the ground.  At the same time, we’re trying to not repeat mistakes from last year which means more work being put into beds to make sure they are as hospitable as we can manage this year.  Another sunny day in which my partner was home early helped.  High at about mid 60s°F.

  • Watered seed/lings indoors and out.  So far, The window is gravity designed, so a bit interesting to open when laid horizontal.the first quick and dirty cold frame set up seems to be working as intended.  The interesting thing about this is that there is a half screen in these windows, so when I open it to vent to prevent overheating on warm days, the screen helps keep out critters of the larger varieties.  The wood you see is a combination of wood from the doghouse as well as some scraps I picked up at a bin that’s outside a furniture factory just down the street a few blocks.
  • I thatched the front lawn, then mowed as best as I could, including a single run of our reel mower along the west strip between properties.  Where I had moved some of sod I removed from the top of the slope to the bottom where our property meets the street, the ground overall is very uneven.  This is in part because we have no curb/sidewalk on our side of the street, so when the plows come, anything near to street level/edge gets a bit of a beating.  We’re supposed to eventually get a sidewalk and curb from the town, but there’s no date set for that yet, as it’s part of a long term effort to add more sidewalks to streets like ours where for years there was only sidewalk on one side.  It will mean “losing” a small portion of the front yard to that, but we knew that going in, and fortunately the way our property is sited, we will still have quite a bit of front yard to enjoy.  The house itself will also still have a good setback from the street for an urban plot.
  • I did a bit of raking in the back for leaves and thatch, but there’s so much going on close to the house that it was slow going and I only managed a bit of mowing, mostly along the driveway.
  • The eastern side of the backyard, just under the kitchen and bath windows used to  have a stone lined bed there, which had a bit of a bump out just past what used to be a cellar window that was later removed (and we actually bought a replacement today at a clean out and it’s exactly like our other windows).  At some point, the common milkweed took over.  We plan to start moving some of the milkweed to other spots to help spread it out, both for the pollinators as well as to help prevent the aphid farmers.

    So happy to have any flowers the pollinators can snack on.
    This area was neglected for a long time before we moved here.  If you look closely you can see the common milkweed that has spread over time starting to push above ground.
  • Can't wait to fix that window!
    A bit to the left of the last image.

    We still didn’t get to lift the concrete splash guard along that section, and it’s starting to bother me considering how many milkweed plants are already poking through there, as can be seen here.  The large disturbed area is where I dug up the oriental bittersweet plant that had hidden itself among the tall stalks of the milkweed.  The roots of that plant were no joke and took quite a while to dig out.  The entire bed and just over its edge has been neglected, so there’s all manner of grass, weeds and such that need to be cleared out still.  Aside from the hosta and the (choke?) cherry, I’m not sure what else might appear here once we clear out some milkweed so the lower plants get more light.  Since we’ve been here, the shade of the milkweed has been too much even for the hosta go grow very much once the milkweed hit a certain height.  The cherry my partner had hacked away at last year because it was too close to the house, and I warned him if we didn’t dig it out it would come back.  (It did.)

  • To the right of the east area images is where we hope to build an herb spiral.  We’re holding off on that until we get the milkweed sorted out, and the vegetable beds done.  We’ll still be planting some herbs as companions in the veggie beds, and I’m also aware we might not get the spiral done until it’s a bit late to plant this year as well.
  • I pulled out any basil still in the last year’s kitchen bed, and knocked off what flower bits remained just in case there were any seeds in there on the far west end of the bed that he had prepared yesterday.  I marked them with a blank label that was handy, just in case anything comes of what I did to remind me that it’s basil.  I had no real reason to put them there other than it was close and the bed was ready in case they did grow, but I figure I can always transplant them later if anything does come out of the effort.  What’s odd is I thought I kept basil flowers from last year, and I’m not sure what I did with them if I really did.  It may be something I meant to do, but didn’t?  I do have one flower seed container from my saving last year that isn’t marked, so maybe that’s them?  I’ll try to plant some near the tomatoes and we’ll see what happens.
  • My partner got two more smaller beds de-stoned while I was working on the above as well as sorting out some wood from our wood pile for future bean poles.  We also offered some of the wood pile to our neighbors since they regularly make fires in their yard in the warmer months, and last night was the first this year.
  • Maybe next year we'll manage better looking cold frames.
    Smaller window than the other, which I’m worried might be too small, but ya work with what ya’ve got!

    The last thing I did was start one of our three sister patches by planting the corn, then using another of the vinyl windows with doghouse wood to cover as another quick and dirty cold frame.  I read that you should let the corn grow at least 5 inches tall before planting the beans, then the squash shortly after the beans.  We’re going to put butternut squash in this bed, but some of the three sisters will have acorn squash.  All will have the pencil cobb corn and black dry turtle beans this year.  I had also read that pole beans aren’t what traditionally was used with three sisters, which is why folks that try to use them often get frustrated about why it’s not working as well as it should be.  Bush beans are better because they still climb, but lower.  Last year we had used both the scarlet runner beans as well as the black turtle, and the scarlets definitely needed more than just the corn could give.

  • Overall, today was a great day.  I’m happy with the steady progress, and if the weather holds tomorrow, hopefully we’ll get even further.  If the weather cooperates before he gets home, I may get back to trying to clean out either the garage bed creepers, or focusing on the safety glass bed overall.  I’m a bit more inclined for the garage bed, because there are so many flowers that are being smothered there, where the safety glass bed is mostly just weeds or the boysenberries, which can smother itself, but I’ve got a bit more time to get to preventing that.

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