Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Amending the raised beds and other garden tasks

Today I had a nice block of time to finally add some manure and compost to the raised beds nothing wants to grow in. First I removed the non-thriving Brussels Sprouts and just planted them in ordinary garden soil. I figured they'd probably die, but at least this way they had a chance and I had a vacant raised bed so I could start digging it up and adding nutrients. Maybe they will like their new home better.

I also removed the bok choy from the other raised bed. It was only about three inches tall and bolting. I decided to throw the six small plants into a stir fry for lunch tomorrow. The lettuces were doing a bit better so I transplanted one of my Batvian lettuce seedlings among the small Romaine plants, and planted a nasturtium seed and a marigold plant nearby. That left half the bed to dig around in, so I added nutrients to the rest of that bed where I will be planting tomatoes. I just read today that tomatoes don't especially like to be rotated -- they like to stay put. That's fine with me, since I really don't have anywhere to put them except where they were last year and the years before that.

When I started the digging, I discovered the soil in the beds had gotten quite hard, though the clods were full of worm tunnels and the beds had lots of earthworms. I added the manure and worked it in and then worked some ordinary garden soil in with that. The soil came from the field our weed abatement man dug under Saturday and it had been fallow, growing only a healthy crop of weeds for the past few years. It seemed full of organic material. Probably a lot of weed seeds there as well, but I'm good at pulling them and plan to fill the beds enough to smother any sprouting weeds when the crops get bigger.

When I finished amending the soil, I decided to have another try at planting radishes, carrots, and parsnips. I hope they decide to come up this time. When I finished that, I watered everything and covered it up with a row cover to protect it from pests -- including our resident cats. Two of them were on gopher patrol today. One was watching over a fairly new hole a few feet from my raised beds. The other was playing with something in the weeds near the recently plowed field. He was the same one who was so curious about what I did in the herb garden yesterday and came to inspect after I went in. I followed him, since I had loosened the soil and I didn't want him to do his business in it. I wish I'd taken my camera with me. He jumped up on the rock in the middle of the garden as if to survey his domain, and stayed there quietly for some time, just looking around. What a picture it would have made!

This morning I went on a weed and walnut tree safari with my camera and discovered new trees that have not only started by themselves but also are taller than I am. I'm not sure what they are. I also discovered a new poison oak plant which I did my best to dispatch. I have posted one of my weed assortments at the top of this blog. Sometimes I think weeds can be almost pretty -- if only they didn't spread so fast.
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