The Anticipation is Killing Me
Apr 07, 2017
No, not calving and lambing season. Gardening season.
It hasn’t rained for a few days. Oh, hush, you SoCal people, for us it’s fairly unusual this time of year. But, the break gave me a chance to go get dirty, and almost sweaty. So I did.
First was general cleanup. I’d already trimmed the blackberries and yarrow, knocked down the dead foxglove and lupine stalks, and raked all the stuff that sloughs off the beds back up onto the beds. I pulled the small flatbed trailer over close to the garden, and started piling up the debris. When I finished, the morning coffee had worn off, so I got another cuppa and took a seat to look over the garden and start coming up with a plan for the rest of the day.
One thing I had done just as an experiment last year was a deep watering system. I tried it out on the tomato/pepper bed, and the results were encouraging. So, I went ahead and did two more beds, with two more left to do before I run out of pieces.
This is drain pipe, the kind with two lines of holes that you put in a trench, holes down, for French drains. I bury it just below the surface, with an angle piece that I put a short length of non-perforated pipe. When it’s time to water, I stick the hosepipe in that hole and let’er rip. No evaporation, no surface rooting, stronger plants.
Cover it up, and ready to plant.
The outside beds where I grow the insane growers like melons, squash, pumpkins and shoepeg corn just keep getting better and better every year. Last fall I added about 2’-3’ of mulched oak and walnut leaves and grass clippings as usual, and by spring, the beds have composted down to this.
The worm load was amazing. As I was raking the beds flat and level, I was apologizing to myriad worms being rudely hooked and brought into the light.
Last year’s melon and pumpkin bed. I left the dead vines under all the leaves, and almost all decomposed into rich, dark soil. I almost want to be planted here myself.
Along with the sunny and, well, not actually warm, but not in the 40’s, comes the tingle. You gardeners know it well. Oh sure, you PROBABLY won’t get another hard frost, why not get a few seedlings into the ground a bit early, get a jump on those broccoli and cauliflowers?
This is why not.
It was actually 31 before I found the camera. The greenhouse residents were a bit annoyed that I took their heater out a few days ago, but they came thru fine.
A little chill never hurt a geranium anyway, right?
Along with all the garden prep, there is the tsunami of bulbs and other spring flowers to enjoy on a fine, sunny spring day in the Northwest. My phone/camera gets quite a workout these days.
People stop and take pictures (and occasionally, a souvenir daffodil or three) all the time of the flowering line of daffodils on the north end of the maternity pasture.
The first tulip of our season, ‘Gold Coin’ or ‘Olympic Flame’, I’m not sure which one. Plenty of hungry bugs out there this season!
Plenty of hyacinths to counteract errant dog farts and cow belches.
I planted hundreds of this tiny daffodil ‘Minnow’ not just because it’s the cutest daffodil ever, but for the powerful fragrance it puts out on sunny days.
I like weird stuff, like double daffodils. In warmer climates, this one is more salmon pink. Here, it’s kind of a creamsicle colour.
Nothing beats sticking your nose into a pot of violets for an instant mood lift.
Nothing, not even bulbs, says ‘It’s SPRING!!’ quite like a pot full of pansies.
Or the first rhododendron, ‘Mary Fleming’, a charming, historic and tiny early bloomer.
The Japanese maples are starting to leaf out as well. Few trees are as beautiful in early leaf than one of these.
And, lets heave a sigh of relief to the end of lambing season. Sadly, it was a bittersweet end, as Ginger delivered her triplets while I was at work, and I came home to find two lively ram lambs and one beautiful big ewe lamb lying cold and stiff next to mom. That’s Ginger’s daughter Charlotte with her twin rams, a week old, in the background. Two sets of trips, one from Ginger’s 10 year old mom Twyla, two sets of twins, one lost. Been many years since I’ve lost a lamb. Even if I had been home, there was zero guarantee I could have helped, so I just accept that it happened (damn, she was a GORGEOUS lamb too!!) and be thankful that all my mommas are strong and healthy and raising up some fine lambs once again.
Poor Twyla. The look on her face says it all.
One of Willa’s boys herding chickens. Not a Jacob, his mother is half Navajo-Churro, his dad a purebred St. Thomas. The rest of his mom’s mix includes Dorper, Katahdin, Barbado and North Country Cheviot. We call that cross Katahdadorpadoviot.
Willa (lying down) with her boys. That’s Pogo, the ancient purebred Navajo-Churro keeping an eye on me in case I make any sudden moves toward the feedbag. Charlotte and her boys in the background.
All in all, spring is a good time to have a camera handy. The scenic shots just keep coming, as do the flowers, trees, weeds and hopefully rain. Last week, we hit the fertilizer jackpot by getting 4000# of 40% down in two days, followed the very next day by a light rain. Sometimes, you just get lucky.
This is our neighbour’s field, from the seat of our tractor in our lumpy north pasture. Lucky dog, he’s got a way cool new fertilizer buggy, and he can do three times as much as we can in ¼ the time. Too bad I don’t have a picture of the buggy stuck in the mud from yesterday in another field. Even if I did, I wouldn’t embarrass him by posting it. So I posted a pretty picture instead.
I hope everyone’s spring season is going well, that your tractor doesn’t get stuck or break down, and all your seeds sprout and grow strong just like your stock and you get all your fertilizer down at the right time.
If not, I know where there’s a nice new fertilizer buggy stuck in the mud you could borrow.