Saturday, May 14, 2011

A few sunny days...

Thank you Lord for the sunshine!  A few sunny days and we are showing some progress in the yard work and gardening department. 

Over the weekend, with the help of four hard working teenage boys, we accomplished the huge task of raking the entire yard, and getting rid of all the rest of the leaves from last fall, plus the tons of branches that came down during the winter and early spring storms...enough to fill a 30 yard dumpster!

With the guys working hard on those things, that left me to accomplish quite a lot of other tasks. First I ripped out some scraggly old holly bushes that didn't quite make the winter this time, replanted some Variegated Euonymus Shrubs in their place, and added in a few other bushes to fill up one of the beds that has always been quite bare and boring.  

The peas and sugar snap peas were ready to go in the ground.  Because they need something to climb on as they grow, I used the wooden stakes and twine to make a simple trellis.  Between my planting rows you can see that I put down black landscape fabric since I found a good deal on 100ft rolls for $5.  Using the long U-shaped staples that come with it to hold it down, laying it in place takes no time at all but saves hours and hours of weeding all summer long.   The black color also absorbs heat warming the soil along around the plants roots. Besides those benefits, I like to have pathways so that visitors can have a closer look and not get muddy feet!

I was also able to put in the strawberry patch...20 plants in a raised bed. They are looking good, but I am disappointed after learning that I am supposed to pick off all the blossoms this year (that means no berries) so as to establish the patch for next year.  Once again, I admit I am not good at might take our chances and have a few berries this summer anyways, but shhhh don't tell....

Everyday, especially when it is sunny and warm, I check on the seedlings in the greenhouse at least twice but sometimes every few hours or so when I am home, (ok ok, you're right!  It’s hard to KEEP me OUT of the greenhouse!)  Well, it is vital to make sure the temperature is not getting too high in there for the tiny plants (last summer it reached temps up to 130 degrees!) and also to see that the soil in the seed pots is not drying out.  Remember to water gently!!

The tomato plants are growing slowly but surely. Perhaps this weekend I will dilute some miracle grow to a little less than half the suggested strength and give them a little drink.  Since they are so tender a full dosage would be way too potent and do more harm than good (probably would kill them.)

The pepper plants are still being difficult...the ones that finally sprouted are still very small, so small that I am sure that I will be purchasing plants from one of the local garden centers when planting out time comes.

All types of the squash are doing just fine…well…except for the pumpkins. We have a mystery concerning the pumpkins!  I planted all 25 Amish Pie Pumpkin seeds from the packet, and none sprouted in all this time, so one day last week I was curious and poked 
around in the seed pots to see if any seeds were even sprouted under the soil or if they had rotted.  I found no sign of seeds at all! They had completely vanished!  A couple days later, I discovered 4 or 5 plants coming up in the container where I started more lettuce, which look an awful lot like young pumpkin plants!  So my theory is that a small perpetrator perhaps grey or brown in fur, with a little rat tail and sneaky little paws, found a way inside the greenhouse and moved the pumpkin seeds to more convenient snacking hideaways.  Once the few plants are more established I will move them into their own container so they won't hinder the small lettuce plants until everyone is ready to go outside to the garden.

Coming up next: dealing with the 10 yards of mulch we had delivered, overall tidying up of the flower beds, trimming, splitting, transplanting…busy busy!

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