Sunday, April 5, 2009

Always something to do

This weekend I got a few more things done in the garden. First, I took out the plants in the way and set up my new flat tomato cages. Storing the tall, 6x6" square wire cylinders I made out of concrete reinforcing wire had proved totally impossible for barnless me. Instead, this year, I'm trying to "cage" tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers and tomatillos by setting up flat panels of the same wire, held up with three rebars each, in parallel lines. I'll put the plants in between them, and set sticks and things across the lines, to make individual cages. If I have to, I'll use pieces of old t-shirts and tie plants up. After I'm done, they'll store flat in the garage or leaning against a fence.

I used some old 1/4" soak hose and set up an experimental irrigation system. I have an old five gallon bucket with a little 1/4" attachment on it, and I'm hoping that sitting on the edge of a bed will provide enough pressure to push water through the hoses for a short amount of time. That way, I could both use recycled water and not have to stand with a hose. Must try that out before I plant!

Stopping by the meat market, I ordered a bag of fish heads from my favorite butcher. We also had a long conversation about tomatoes, gardens, and homeschooling, so that was a real treat. I'll drop a fish head into each hole before I plant the tomato, then follow up with a handful of crushed eggshell and apparently, an aspirin or two and some organic fertilizer. I don't have everything, but I got these ideas from the Love Apple Farm blog. I'll side dress with manure and rabbit poop a couple of times over the season.

Mulched the newly-planted pole (for which I put up poles and strings) and bush beans with hay, as they were drying out in the warm, windy weather. I had planted 25 Scarlet Runner beans, 20 Romano pole beans, 15 Christmas Limas, 50 Marrow fat bush beans,and 62 Taylor's Dwarf Horticultural bush beans. I'm seeing tiny rootlets on the ones I check, but keeping them wet is a real challenge.

Dug, amended, and raked smooth the corn bed. The irrigation experiment will have a huge impact on this bed, since it's 6'x9' and difficult to reach across. The True Greek Oregano is perking along in it, though. Reminded me I need to make spaghetti sauce.

I also double-dug the area my second daughter wants for a flower bed. We always grow flowers in the vegetable garden, just for fun, but I'd love for her to have a cutting bed. She likes to sell flowers at a table in our front yard, and to give them and cut arrangements for our dining table. I'll finish amending and smoothing that this week, so she can transplant the zinnias.

Keeping the baby plants downstairs watered is proving a challenge too. I guess we all need to keep hydrated.

Checked the bees again today. They've taken all the syrup, and are finally drawing comb in the super. I guess I'll keep feeding until they stop. Lots of eggs and brood, and some hatched-out queen cells. Perhaps the swarm was from my hives. They look poised for a population boom. I dusted with powdered sugar. Still need to build new hive stands.

Speaking of building, must build new nest boxes and perches for the big hens and a junior perch for the chicks. I think one chick must have mites or something -- she needs some sort of treatment.

I'm excited -- the garden feels as though it's turning a corner of some sort, rounding into the real productivity of late spring/early summer. I love the soft evenings of work out there and watching my winter dreams become reality.

And I do plan to take more pictures.

1 comment:

Susan said...

My mom used to get dead fish from the beach near our house where I grew up in Maryland and plant the tomatoes on top of them. Then our dog would dig them up and roll in them. Wash dog. Replant flowers. Repeat.