This past week was the first totally beautiful week of the year that wasn’t weirdly out-of-season, and we had high hopes for spending our evenings approaching the spring yardfun at a leisurely pace. Of course, I developed a cold on Monday, and since our yardfun was going to be a three-person job, we ended up spending our evenings taking long, restorative naps instead. Sadly, this meant that we had tons of yardfun to do this weekend, with no leisure to be found anywhere. The life of the gentlewoman farmer is hard, yo!
So, what was on the docket? First up, we had to take the straw off all the beds in the garden.
You can see a big black garbage bin in among our herb pots between the beds in that picture; that’s where we’re growing potatoes this summer. We’ve got two bins, and they needed to be prepped for planting. That meant poking holes in them, putting in a layer of rocks (or, in our case, the bits of pots that broke this winter), putting in a layer of straw for drainage, then putting in a shallow layer of soil for planting. Then we opened up our shipment of potatoes that arrived this week from Seed Savers Exchange and our hearts fell. There were about eight medium-sized potatoes in the box, two of which were rotten. Stupid potatoes! (This was shocking to us — normally SSE is utterly reliable.) And the instructions suggested we needed to cut the potatoes into plantable pieces (about two inches square, with at least two eyes each) and let the cut sides get callused a bit, after sitting for a day or two. D’oh! We were doing yardfun today! Stupid potatoes. Well, we did the cutting, and will do the planting in a few days, assuming they don’t rot. Grumble, grumble, grumble…
Next up, it was time to do some transplanting.
The Imbolc lettuce was rarin’ to go, and we figured it could live in the bed the peppers will be moving into later this summer.
It looks so happy now that it’s got room to spread out!
The onions, which we never bothered thinning, were a tangled snarl of ready-to-not-be-in-the-crowded-little-tray seedlings.
After a little wrestling them apart, a little manhandling them into a bed, a little cussing about how much we hate transplanting onion seedlings, and then a little remembering that the year we direct-sowed them, none of our onions grew, we were done. Transplanted onions are always the least impressive sight of the entire garden season. They look all hearty and oniony in the seedling trays, then pathetic and wimpy in the big beds. Good thing we’ve got the garlic to gaze upon happily, until the onions can get their act together and start looking like real plants.
The other big yardfun job we had to take care of was tidying up the orchard. All of our beloved fruit trees live in unsightly playpens of temporary deer netting held up by six-foot stakes. (Our motto about this ugly landscaping treatment is, “If the township would let us put up real deer fencing, our neighbors wouldn’t have to look at this crap.” Ball’s in your court, Township.) Once a year, we have to straighten the stakes, which spend the next 364 days leaning and drooping and falling over, and then reset the deer netting. We generally have to expand the playpen borders, too, since the trees have this wacky tendency to get bigger. This year we even did some pruning, because, amazingly, some of the trees are too big.
The apple trees are always the first ones in our yard to get green leaves, and some of them were already well on their way today. And meanwhile, the peach trees are practically bustin’ out with blossoms.
We’ve still got two more new trees to plant (a Pineapple quince in a spot we’re expanding the orchard into, and a Whitney crabapple to put into the spot where the Spitzenburg apple died last year), but you know what? That’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. We’re pooped.
[Posted by Schnookie]