ZOWIE it’s spring!

Filed under: @ 10:41 pm

What with the tummy weasels, my job, Andrew’s back, and the cat…. to say nothing of the unmentioned (and unmentionable) week that included me running over a chunk of wood on I-5 south of the Tacoma dome and taking out the air mass sensor in my Subaru to the tune of about $700 just two days before the CPA called us and told us we owed the IRS $1800….it’s been a pretty grumpy spring.
And now they’ve started development on the property behind ours, destined to be a 3 home mini-complex sometime late this summer or early this fall. In between times there are bulldozers, dump trucks, chainsaws, and lots and lots and lots of dust just over our south and west property line. We’re losing some very very valued quiet and privacy.
We are (at least I am) going to continue to be pretty grumpy for a while (although I did promise Andrew I wouldn’t bitch too much about the construction…… we are getting a sewer connection out of it after all).

So I thought I’d take a moment to share a bit about what brings great joy to me. Or, to put it in somewhat less syrupy English, I thought I’d take the opportunity to bore the pants off of y’all with tales of how my garden grows!

Tomatoes went in during the first part of May. I have ten plants in five self watering containers following the same feeding and watering protocol that I did last year. Planted them half in worm castings from our worm bin and half in new potting soil with one Mycogrow tablet per plant. Fed them with Gardners’ Supply Tomato Food and covered them with Territorial’s Red Mulch. I only just today managed to get the supports up for them before they crawled into the yard. The tallest is approximately 2 feet and already has little green tomatoes.

I had intended to take what I was referring to as my spring break (the 10 day stretch between ending my full time employment at Five Corners and starting my full time employment at Spring Glen) really easy. I’d just finished working a hideous stretch of days, I’d been ferociously busy, and I was exhausted. On the first day of my break Andrew had a press check at dark:o’clock and I figured I’d just sleep through his alarm to wake up at a decently decedant hour to drink tea, eat toast, and then slope off into my garden to enjoy the spring.
Except it didn’t work that way. Roo’s alarm went off at some hideous hour and I did, in fact, go right back to sleep as soon as he got up. Only it’s seriously spring. Sunshine oozing through the blinds, robins bellowing, and the ferslushinger flicker GLEERT-ing his head off only allowed me to sleep until about 0700. And I got up. And opened the blinds, and the windows, and spring came pouring in at me.

I was in the garden rototilling by 0900. That is, after I spent almost an hour digging up volunteer potato plants out of last year’s potato patch. I SWEAR I went over that patch with a fine tooth comb last summer, but even still I dug up 20 plus volunteer plants.
So I ground in all of the mulch from last fall and pulled up a few noxious weeds and planted FORTY FOUR potato plants (twenty three volunteers and three pounds of seed potatoes).
The potatoes are currently occupying what used to be the dahlia bed. I spaded up every single inch of that section of the garden and found three, count ’em, three dahlia tubers out of what must have been forty or more that were there when we moved in. The rest must have frozen to death over the winter of 2004-2005. Anyway the potatoes are enjoying the area and since that corner of the garden is pretty seriously shaded by the evergreen tree that is just over our south fence line, I’m really rather afraid of what’s going to happen when the developer (at my request) takes that bloody great tree out. Get a little more sunshine into that corner and it’s going to be a potatolanche.

I managed to overwinter a large-ish section of lettuces which are currently burgeoning and remarkably tasty. As I finish harvesting a row (Andrew eats salad for lunch on work days) I’m tilling up the row and re-planting so that hopefully we won’t have to purchase lettuce again until sometime next December.

Since I was somewhat disappointed by the beans last summer… there weren’t really very many of them and I do love black bean soup in the winter…. I -um- expanded our bean patch this year. Close to 120 black bean plants are currently at the two leaf stage. I have great hopes for PLENNY black bean soup this winter.

And my experiment with starting onions from seed, I was seduced by Territorial’s cipolinni advertising, seems to have been a remarkable failure. I’m good at growing onions from sets, but have NO luck at all starting them from seeds.
So in one insane trip to my favorite nursery in Olympia, the Bark and Garden Center, I purchased what turned out to be a truly frightening number of red onion sets. I got two flats of them because I didn’t think that one flat looked like quite enough. Two flats looks like it’s going to be LOTS of onions. My bean patch is outlined in onions, my lettuce rows are punctuated by onions, and I’ve got a couple of spare onions at one end of my squash patch.

Oh, and squash. I planted acorn squash this year. I’m passionate fond of acorn squash. I’ve also planted additional planters full of two different types of cucumbers (more pickles!), loofahs, and a really cool little heirloom pumpkin called ‘Batwings’ which is supposed to be a green and orange variegated and a decent pie pumpkin to boot. I’m very excited.

On that same lunatic trip to the Bark and Garden Center I also found a lovely rosebush for Scamper. A hybrid double English scarlet climber called “Crimson Dawn”. We held our Egyptian burial that evening. I think the rosebush is enjoying the funeral offerings (a bowl full of tunafish) since it’s put on 3 inches and one whole new cane in the bare month that it’s been in the ground.
I ended up with an anonymous bulb from that trip as well. It was on the checkout counter as the guy was tallying up my purchases. I commented to him that only at a garden store would you find some anonymous ugly thing on the counter and not have the health department having fits. The guy grinned, waved his hand at me and said “Take it home and plant it, see what comes up!” Which I found charming.

The north end of our raspberry patch was looking a little hagridden last fall so this spring I ordered 10 new bare root plants from Raintree. They also came in early May, with big burly canes and really extensive root systems. I grubbed out the old canes, which is apparently something that needs to be done every 10-15 years anyway, and planted out the new ones. They have, shall we say, adapted nicely. The loganberry patch is terrifying, and I’m up to my eyeballs in rhubarb again.

But I think what’s best?
It’s only mid-June and my gardener’s tan is well started. 😀

4 Responses to “ZOWIE it’s spring!”

  1. Valerie Says:

    Hey! I forgot your new office was going to be in Spring Glen. That’s just up the hill from my office. You probably don’t have breaks in the day to “do” lunch though, huh?

  2. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Oh, she does, she does. Is this new job great or what? 🙂

  3. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Should anyone doubt Margaret’s farmer-tan cred:

    Farmer Tan

  4. Margaret Says:

    VALERIE! I’ll reply this to your e-mail address as well, but since this is the first chance I’ve gotten to see your comment and since this is the first chance I’ve gotten to reply, I’ve just got to say….

    How remarkably cool!

    Yes, I do often have a chance to *actually* “take lunch” at le new job. That situation may change as soon as I get popular enough to have clients calling me frequently, but for the forseeable future, I’m good for lunch. As soon as we’re back from Philly you and I will have to arrange it.

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