Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 10

Yesterday, Saturday, was my younger daughter's school plant sale. They have a farmer who grows a ton of plants for them, and the neighboring "alternative" hgh school kids grew a bunch as well. In other words, I didn't have to grow anything, which swas easy. instead, I made signs and fliers, and placed them around town. I also showed up early to unload plants and make a second run to the greenhouse, and at the end of the day to put leftover plants back on the truck and then cruise around un-signing the town. My daughter contributed with her first semi-pro gig as a sign dancer.

One result of all that was: four tomatoes, two stevia, two tarragon, an amaranth, four geraniums, one scarlet begonia, two blue fescue,...and maybe other stuff I forgot. The farmer got a little, and the school got some. A good day.

So today I planted most everything. One exception is a yellow pear tomato that will probably end up as a potted plant, and one fescue sent to Nancy to be a potted plant at her place.

I also went to the old community garden and retrieved some hops planted by George Bush, one of the first Olympia non-Indian settlers (he was black) in the 1850s. I put one rhizome in the ground, and to others in pots. Meanwhile, the other hops are mostly to climbing stage, although Chinook, Newport, and Northern Brewer lag. Maybe one more hop plant could squeeze in on the east pole, but otherwise I've got a full line-up of (from west to east) Newport, Perles, Zeus, Chinook, Glacier, Hallertauer, and Bush Homestead. Just west of these, on the willow fence (from East to West) are Northern Brewer and another Glacier. At the north end of the yard, climing lines to a tree-hung block and tackle, are Fuggles, Nugget, and Willamette/Cascade. The latter is also back on the north fenceline, in between raspberres that are blooming as we speak.

The block and tackle hops are in a small area between the willow tree and the gate on the north side of the yard. Crappy soil and full sun led me to plant a white sage, tarragon, and fescue there today. It's wild and herb country. Meanwhile, some of the poppy and cilantro broadcast way back are starting to get beyond seedling stage.

O, and one of the heaps is gone! The soil dug from near the house, mounded for atleast a month, contributed to hilling up taters, after which I went through removing weeds and putting the rest of the soil into the cart. I then dug up about half the soil-heap substrate, into which went a couple of the new tomato starts. Sorting and digging exposed more weeds, which went to the weed heap, looming just behind the hewly cultivated ground. The soil heap was on cardboard laid down over grass and weeds, which mostly seem dead now that they are re-exposed. We'll see if they revive; if they don't, I should be able to just turn over the soil instead of sifting through it all to remove the roots and shoots and rhizomes that could grow back.

I also worked around the big pear tree. As in, digging a 2 foot radius around the trunk to remove blackberry, morning glory, etc. In the loose soil, I put the smaller clump of grandma's hostas. Radially further out, I started putting 'sod' (any dug-up turf 50% or more comprised of grass or moss).

That;s probably about it.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3

Spring has quickened. Some rain and some sun, today clear and it had to be over 70.

I've worked through some of the heap o dirt resulting from digging out next to the house, de-weeding it while feeding the weed heap. Some of the cleaned stuff went to hilling up potatoes.

But before that, and increasingly often everywhere else in the garden, weeding. Mostly with the crescent-bladed shuffler hoe that I cut from an old spade; the new handle is a camellia branch, a little gnarly and heavy to be ideal. Anyhow, it's worked pretty well in the tater bed, which was greened over with buttercup sprouts. It's also pretty good in the paths, where all I'm trying to do it decapitate weeds, not remove them.

Pretty much the whole garden used to be a neglected raspberry patch, full of buttercup and morning glory, plus rhizomatous grass and an undending seed bank of dandelions. Most of the raspberry is gone, but pretty much everything else is a reproducing population at the moment. The beds are clearer than the rest (although plagued by baby weeds), but  it'll take years to get the uper hand.

Blueberries are leafed out nicely, and seem happy with the conifer mulch. Not much flowering yet, and the plants are scraggly. I've pruned some, but need to brace the branches out vs up. The row next to the fence, even more beat up than the others, is alive and OK, but not what I'd call thriving. Blanketflower and hostas are tucked in that bed as well, and both look great.

Mustard and bok choy are starting to add on enough to notice; snap peas and spinach (I  hope, or maybe just more weeds) have sprouted.

Haven't mentioned the onion bed, so here goes: Egyptians are already walking, garlic looks good (and not overgrown, so late planting worked out well this year), Naneum onions are blooming, shallots seem good, as do the other bunchers. I've left the pine mulch on them, and despite seeing some slugs and weeds when I peek underneath, there does not seem to be a problem so far.

The lawn is pretty much a mat of the weeds aforementioned, and so it grows well as well. Mowing is in order, and the cheap mower i got last year seems to have acclimated. So far, I've been bagging it, using it in berry and hop beds. Seems like 2 loads per episode. The front lawn is where I attempt a facade of normalcy, and keeping it mowed to within a few inches of the neighbors is the main way I achieve that. May as well do the back while I'm at it. The lawn will shrink over the years, so I'm just enjoying the 20th Century ritual of walking behind a gas-drinking eater of grass while it lasts.

Other than that, not a lot happening. I continue to cut and cycle through branches. Gunnar dropped off a few wheelbarrels of cedar branches, which along with the raspberry cross-pieces means I have a heap o burning to do.