Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Annual May Garden

There's not a lot going on in the blogging world that I inhabit.  Probably because many of the bloggers are gardeners, and our fingers are all too dirty to be using the keyboard.  I'm doing my best to wear my lovely pink gloves to keep my fingernails clean and my excema under control, but it doesn't always work.  As I do my morning walk through it all with my coffee, I almost always reach down and pull a few weeds.

However, I have almost everything in.  There are just a few seedlings still in trays waiting for me to find spots for them.  I'm bound to lose a brocolli to cutworms or find a hole that needs filling.

Because I mulch so heavily with my neighbours' leaves in the fall, the front garden doesn't look great in early spring.  The neighbours cut their lovely green grass weeks before the ice melts in the corners of my garden.  Beth thinks it looks like a landscape project, but tells her friends that it will look amazing by mid-June.  She's right.  The ugly leaves are only ugly for a short while though, and then the greens poke up through them and it all looks good. 

It looks great right now, even though most of the seeds haven't germinated yet and many of the seedlings are still tiny.  

Usually I mulch with about 16 bags of leaves and then rake a few bags off in the spring.  This year I only raked off one bag and decided to leave the rest there.  I do like the look of bare soil between the greens, but that really isn't something that happens in nature and my mulch should help keep the weeds down and improve the soil. 

Over the summer it will work its way into the soil.  Every year my soil feels better and better.  I don't know if it produces more, but the weeds are easier to pull out of the less-compacted soil.  Garlic likes the mulch, so I'm definitely not disturbing the garlic I planted in the fall until I dig a few up.  I'm in no rush because I still have about 10 bulbs in storage from last year. 

Although you can probably tell that it's the front beds that I love, the back yard is actually pretty productive.

Other than the rhubarb (already going to flower), delphiniums and small Evans cherry tree in the corner, this is all seeded so there's not much to see here yet.  But there will be!

The straw bales I planted into last year worked really well, so this year I'm growing some climbing things to go up wires around the old swing set.  I still want to paint the swing set this week and string the wires before the beans and cucumbers need to climb, but the idea is to create a sort of green tent.  This picture looks distorted somehow, but there is about 3 feet between the bales in the centre.  Alice envisions reading in her green tent later in the summer.

Grapes, although we've never gotten even one bunch off it yet
Beans are my favourite plant to watch sprout.  There's nothing...nothing..nothing...and then it sproings out of the ground dramatically while I'm at work.

And the next day it's two inches tall.

 Miracle plants!

The whole garden is a miracle.  On Beth's birthday in April, we still had snow. On Mother's Day there were not leaves on the trees or on the bare hedge.  Now it looks as if those leaves have always been there and the world was always green. 

Now that the garden is in, I think I'll try to fit a few sewing projects in.  Maybe I'll have something to report.  Maybe not.  How are your gardens doing?  Or are there other spring activities that I'm missing out on?


Patty-Jean from LittleQuiver said...

Excuse my slow emergence back into blog land :)
It looks pretty amazing! And the bale trick...think I have heard vaguely about this....what can you plant in a bale, and do you mound soil on it first?
We have gardened in shared and borrowed gardens for about the past 4-5 yrs. This will be our first year in our OWN garden...always wanted a garden in a picket fence, and it just so happens to have one of those...it will be a big job, and I hope we haven't bitten off more than we can chew.
Look forward to checking back and seeing your brilliant garden in action.

Evelyn in Canada said...

I'm new to the bale garden idea, but the idea is that you shove as much soil/compost mixture as you can into the bale, water it to start the decomposing of the bale and then plant directly into it. For us, this allowed us to plant directly in a place that is all roots, with the idea that the roots from the old hedge will themselves start to decompose and we'll have the composed bale on top of that. I just didn't want to try to dig up the old roots. I planted mostly squash in it, but you are supposed to be able to plant almost anything in it. They do take more watering (like a pot would). By the swingset, it means that I didn't have to really commit to new garden space and dig up sod just yet. I haven't decided if that spot will be garden after the swingset finally leaves our yard or if I should keep the grass there. Next year I can easily move the remains of the bales and let the sod come back if I'd like, or lasagna garden that area if I like the extra veggie space.