Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Entrenched and growing

Ah, spring progresses. We continue to pick -axe rocks out of the ground. I’m getting just a bit weary of those rocks about now. In fact, as I labor over layer upon layer of rocks these days, I fantasize about jackhammers and backhoes and other heavy machinery….
We have now gotten the perforated pipe and irrigation pipes in part of the trench. Enough so that we have been able to laboriously collect the rocks that we had previously dumped in rock-collections at the margins of the lawn, and go dump the rocks back into the trench sans dirt. It seems as if it would be so easy to gather up the rocks that we had previously worked so hard to hack out of the ground. Actually, this gathering and dumping is energy consumptive and slow as well.
This last weekend I spent largely digging holes and setting posts for the first raised garden bed. It looks as if it’s constructed out of rather raw looking salvaged lumber (which it is), but once it has soil in it, other beds around it and plants growing in it, the effect will be more harmonious with the rest of the garden I think.. Also, as the holes for the wooden posts for the one bed took most of the weekend, I think I’ll try making the next bed with rebar for posts because technically the rebar can fracture the rocks and go through them rather than be stopped by them (this according to my husband John, who wields a mean sledge hammer).
The weather has been overall been getting warmer. Last week we had a day that got up to 80, although the warmest days are generally around 75.We’ve been getting lots of wind combined with low humidity. It feels too much like drought. I hate droughts… It’s hard to keep spring plants happy with so much wind and warm this early. The floating row cover is very helpful for this. Now I have row covers for everything and keep it on all the time. Observing how quickly the soil dries now between waterings because of the low relative humidity, warmth and the dratted wind, I now add straw mulch as well as seedlings get big enough to get sun as they come up through it. Plants don’t dry out so quickly and don’t look so distressed by the end of a warm windy day if they have some cover, even if the row cover was rippled in the wind all afternoon. I want to take it off so I can see the early spring garden growing, but now I’m content just to keep everything covered and happy. Even with the cover, I must hand water everything daily. Plans for drip irrigation continue to jell.
In hoop house #1, I have continued to gradually thin out plants as they size up. The Siberian kale, Red Russian kale, onions and Bloomsdale spinach all are quite vigorous with the largest plants about a foot across. In hoop house #2, I have beets, chard, turnips, a little broccoli, claytonia and miniature savoy cabbage coming up. Most have gotten their first true set of leaves and look quite healthy and unstressed. I’m waiting for the New Zealand spinach to come up both in hoop house #2 and outside in the garden. All peas are germinating now, with some plants up to 1 ½ inches tall and with their first tendrils extended. In the front yard I have a couple small beds with two varieties of peas and particularly attractive varieties of kohlrabi, kale and chard planted as a nod to the neighbors who have a pretty rock garden nearby. All of the front yard vegetables are coming up too.

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