Early June in the vegetable garden

Things don’t look too bad out there.  I was late in getting everything planted (of course) but the cooler weather and the last couple days of rain have helped the spring crops come along.  This butterhead lettuce (I forget the variety) is starting to look real yummy.butterhead lettuce

There’s also some romaine coming along.  These are all in the ‘safe zone’ behind the chicken wire, but even outside the fence its been a relatively damage-free spring as far as the rabbits go.  Slugs have been more of a problem.romaine lettuce

Brocoli is making progress too.  It’s finally taking off and spreading its roots after a too long delay in the six packs (these I bought prestarted).brocolli plantThese tomatoes have been in for a week or two as well as the onion transplants.  This will be the year of the onion since I started way too many seedlings and then couldn’t bare to toss them into the compost.  They’re small for the time of year but I hope I get something by the time the harvest rolls around….. otherwise I guess we’ll have hundreds of scallions to deal with!onion seedlingsThe tomatoes are dealing with what might possibly be the worst soil prep in gardening history.  A month ago this bed was lawn.  I turned under the grass and added a little compost for the onions, but all the tomatoes got was a layer of leaves and grass clippings to kill the turf and then holes dug directly into the lawn.  Maybe I gave them a little compost on top.
Actually the sister bed across the path which I planted on Saturday was even worse.new planting bed

You can still see the lawn peeking out from behind the tomatoes and along the bed edging.  The plants went straight into holes dug into the lawn and then the grass and weeds were covered with a mulch of chopped leaves and twigs and whatever else the mower picked up during spring bed cleanup/winter debris removal…. I didn’t even have any nutrient filled tender grass clippings to put down!  Once I can dig out some more compost I might put a bit around the tomatoes, but until that happens they’re on their own.  At least I planted them deep, covering all the stem up to the top clump of leaves.  this should let them sprout more roots into the mulch and should help with the lack of soil prep.

ripe strawberryHopefully if I keep it watered the earthworms will find the mulch and rototill the soil with their tunnels.  Grass clippings will surely bring them in, in fact last Friday prior to the rain, I fertilized the front lawn.  I’m hoping it will produce a nice bumper crop of clippings before summer drought dries it up.

The garden isn’t all healthy vegetables, it’s also juicy sweet strawberries.  Even with the late freeze there are a couple coming along.

There’s also the promise of a few blueberries this summer.  Most likely the birds will beat us to them, but this bunch might be worth covering up and saving for ourselves.growing blueberries

Of course I’m only showing the good and new.  Peppers and eggplants still have to go in as well as pole beans.  I’m far from having everything planted and growing.  Right now the process of digging up the tulip beds is going on and it’s into these beds that the last of the transplants will go.  Someday I hope to have beds where I want them and supports ready to go but obviously it’s not going to be this year!

Please tell me I’m not the only one falling behind:)

How not to do a project, part deux

Sunday rolls around and I’m not even sure what the weekend project is…. or was.  I think it had something to do with that box of bareroot apple tree that’s been sitting on the porch for two days now.  Bareroot plantings should be taken care of asap, first step is to plump up the roots again by sitting them in a bucket overnight, I think 24 hours is sorta the max for soaking, you don’t want to drown them.  When planting, the only special thing to remember is to spread out the roots and work the soil back in between.  A little dirt, water it in, a little more dirt, water in.  It’s better to keep the root flare high rather than deep, you can always add soil or mulch around the base later if needed.  Don’t bother mixing anything into the planting hole, if your soil is horrible, plant even higher and mulch well with compost and those nutrients will work their way down to the roots, just like they do in every forest on the planet.  You may think it’s cruel not to try and improve the soil for your baby, but look around.  If you can see other trees growing then your tree should be fine too…. unless those other trees are swamp cypress… you might have a drainage issue then.

pansies and lettuceSo with a sense of urgency to get my tree (and 3 gooseberries too!) into the ground I got the coffe brewed and sat down at the computer….. breakfast followed and then some Lego villages had to be built.  Then a friend stopped by.  Six hours later, a run to the local nursery (to drop off $40), and this is where I’m at.  It’s pansy season after all and buying pansies, shaking off winter, and supporting my local nursery are tradition in these parts.  The apple tree is still not planted but it’s Sunday after all, and things shouldn’t happen too fast on a day of rest.

spring pansy potIt’s more fun to plant pansies than dig holes for dormant apple trees, and you shouldn’t pick-axe pond holes on a day of rest, so I drug out the planters for my new purchases and got them planted.  Again it’s not that easy.  All the fancy pots already have stuff in them.  It’s stuff like rubber trees and fig bushes that need repotting too, so that all came out to make room for the pansies.  Did I mention I bought lettuce?  I was embarrased to  even think of my own seedlings when I saw the lettuce plants for sale.  My reasoning was if I can get at least 215 servings of salad off these plants, they should pay for themselves.

lettuce container gardenThe back deck got a little spring too.  I should have powerwashed off last year’s stains first, but that’s another project and right now I’m too busy planting trees.

Tomorrow maybe I can actually get one in the ground.  The rest of Sunday was spent taking the kids (my two plus another three) for a walk in the woods and down to the railroad tracks.  They then insisted on seeing the drug house that burned down on Saturday.  Funny how these things never get mentioned in most tree planting tutorials.

Around 9pm I snuck out and opened the tree box.  Everything is soaking and has to be planted Monday before it drowns.  I should have no problem getting to it since the only other thing going on is repairing the pond hole.

Regarding the pond hole, I made the mistake of leaving the shovels out next to the dirt piles,  and after two hours of worm hunts, “climbing the pile”, and playing with the pick-axe, most of the dirt is back in the hole or thrown into the pond liner.  A little more work for me, but at least most of the local earthworms (and a couple of grubs) have been given names.