Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thunderstorms, weeding, and planting

So, at last, an update. I seem to be an intermittent blogger these days, my apologies to those of you who check in regularly: you must be saying "now, why don't she write?" - but obviously the usual excuses of "busy" followed by "too tired to write at the end of the day" apply. You know how it goes - I imagine most of you are in the same boat, (and surely this spring, 'boat' is an accurate metaphor).

Much of my energies this spring went into fence building and repair, as seen in my previous post. I had a number of projects come up in the past month that derailed me from getting to the garden plot while it was still light out, and I admit I'm just not quite dedicated enough to wear a headlamp, so what can I say? I did have some success with seedling starters at home this year, much to the dismay of my ever-mischievous cat who was really disappointed that one of the windows was blocked by a large, large new set of wire shelves that housed my little green babies.

One of the things that was driven home while I nursed the seedlings along was that although in spring it provides great sunlight, once the trees surrounding my building leaf-in it becomes shady there. I supplemented the light with those little fairy-lights, and they don't seem to mind the substitution, although I think I should add more lights.

Successes: some of the heirloom tomato seeds I started have thrived, as have the bok choi (白菜) and even the hot peppers. For reasons that remain mysterious to me, and probably have to do with the soil in the container I grew them, my beans didn't thrive - they grew right up and then suddenly keeled over and died. I'll just direct plant them this week and see what happens. I do love beans in the summer.

I feel like I cheated a little, but I bought starter flats this year, which I don't normally do. I had an urge though, and there you are. I used starters to plant a couple other varieties of heirloom tomatoes (some 'black cherry' and another beefsteak variety), some green bell peppers, red cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, zucchini, and I also bought some herbs to intersperse and add to my herb garden: tricolor sage, pineapple mint, and English thyme.

Another trick I've started to employ is that - since I have such an abundance of mint that springs up everywhere (as members of the mint family are wont to do) and honestly I don't drink mojitos THAT often (!!!), I decided that I'm going to simply remove the mint heartlessly when it intrudes, and use it to mulch around my tomatoes, etc. etc. - see what that does for the various plants.

There are still two "beds" that want weeding and opening up, so there's work ahead, and I have designs on the corner that used to house my would-be cold frame, and I think it needs to turn into a rock garden, with both herbs and flowers. Plus, I have to finish my new gate, so I think there will be hammering noises coming from my plot soon enough.

That's the news from plot 78B... see you around the garden!

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