This past Saturday, I spent an entire day in the garden....hurray! Spring-like weather has been a long time coming this year. It was a lovely day with no wind (which is always a biggie in my books when it comes to comfort) - perfect for getting out and doing a few things in the garden.
The ground is still rather soggy and there are sections on the north side of the house where the snow has not completely melted away, but we are getting there. The first task on my list was removing the straw from the garlic and asparagus beds & I managed to get this done…sort of.
We had quite a lot of freezing rain and ice buildup this winter and that was evident when we peeled back the top layer of straw….the bottom layers were encased in ice and frozen solidly to the bed.
Each bed was left with a few inches of straw, frozen to the bed
The straw is still in really good shape, so I’ll be re-using it as mulch, but on different beds. I’m being cautious about not using the asparagus bed straw in the same beds since we had issues with asparagus beetles last year.
We bagged the straw and placed the bags next to the beds that they are going to be used in. The asparagus straw will be used to cover the potato bed and the garlic bed straw will be used to mulch the asparagus bed once the harvest is over.
Bags of straw, ready to cover the potato bed
once I get the tubers planted in a couple of weeks
At the top of the to-do list this year is adding compost to all the beds. Spring is such a busy time in the garden that I normally add compost in the fall, but the trip with my mom last September significantly reduced the amount of time I had for fall tasks. This meant that adding compost to the beds got pushed to this spring.
Although I do have a 3 bin compost system, with 21 raised beds (including the asparagus beds) it doesn’t produce nearly enough compost for my needs, so a couple of trips to pick up a load with the trailer is always necessary.
Getting the trailer out, however, was not as straight forward as it should have been. In order to move the trailer out of its winter storage area, we have to use the lawn tractor and, as usual, we had issues getting it started. Every year, we seem to go through the same thing – we should know by now that the tractor battery has to be removed in the fall & stored inside over the winter. This never seems to get done and then we have to trickle charge it for a few hours to get going (and stay charged). This time, however, our trickle charger wasn’t working either 😖.
While my husband took charge of the tractor situation (which basically ate up the rest of the day), I took advantage of the good weather by clearing out most of an overgrown bed at the base of the hill.
Now, I know that I shouldn’t be working in any of the ornamental beds until the ground has dried out a bit more, but this particular bed has been on the to-do list for years. I’ve made a start of it a couple of times over the years but never got around to finishing, so it’s essentially been an overgrown jungle ever since we moved here. The way I saw it, I would rather get started, even though the conditions are not ideal, than not get to it at all.
The "Jungle Bed" (behind the nectarine tree) in 2015
The "Jungle Bed" in late fall 2018...still a right mess.
I did a bit of cutting back in the spring but then never got back to it
In the meantime, there is still a lot to do to finish up this bed & get it ready for some plant material. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be edging, adding compost and lining it with newspaper and mulch to keep the weeds down.
So that was my glorious day on Saturday. Then came Sunday which was chilly...not a bad thing, as it turned out, since I was sore….VERY sore. Yup…I overdid it. That’s what happens when you go from zero to 60 in the garden. Just as with the battery fiasco, I should know better by now. But it was the ONLY really good day in a week-long forecast that either called for windy, cooler weather or rain. So, even though I needed some recovery time after the fact, I’m glad I did what I did.
By the way, we did eventually end up getting the trailer out and I got the first load of compost.
Only a gardener would look at this and smile....
According to the weather forecast, that won't be until this Friday...hopefully the rain holds off.