Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Trinity of Tedious and Back-Breaking Tasks

A busy few days.

Friday (May 13th) turned out to be flower day.  I cleared the rock bed of weeds and quack grass and planted Scarlet Flax, alyssum, Chinese Forget-Me-Not, pink, red, and lilac poppy, and rose mallow seeds.  In the North garden along the back near the fence, I planted Mexican Torch sunflower, Cupcake zinnia seeds.  I also popped in a few Early Russian sunflower seeds for good measure.  I love how big their heads get!

On Saturday (May 14th) we planted the potatoes in the East garden (beside the raspberry patch).  We planted Red Norland, Blue Russian, Yukon Gold, and Russet potatoes.  That garden is almost pure clay when you get below 8 inches. We dug trenches this year, done over a period of several days.  When we hit clay, we dug small divots to place the seed potatoes in.  Overkill, perhaps, but R thought it might work better.  Ideally, I would like to get some clean, dry straw to grow them in but getting a “small” amount of straw (e.g., a truckload or two) in an area where a bale is an enormous, round mass that can only be moved with heavy machinery can be challenging. 

Sunday (May 15th) we set up the trellises and twine in the South garden and planted peas.  (It took 3 seconds to type that sentence.  It took us over 3 hours to do the task.)   We planted Little Marvel (bush/snap), Green Arrow (bush/snap - our usual variety), Summer (bush/snap), and Corne de Belier (climbing - a snow pea variety).  The snow peas grow to 5 or 6 feet.  We're going to need to add extra support for those later...

R. put down weed-block fabric  to make a walkway in the North garden near the driveway, and along some of the raised beds where we plant things (sunflowers, peppers, etc) in containers.

I want to try growing a few dry pole beans this year, so R. brought home some poplar branches (6-8 feet long) and rigged them in the North garden using umbrella anchors!  We’ll see how that works and if they secure enough length on the bottom of the branches to hold them up all summer.

Of the Trinity of Tedious and Back-Breaking Tasks, the one that remains is weeding the raspberry patch.  Uhg.   I say weeding, but in fact it is faster and easier on my arms to trim around the existing canes with small shears or even scissors.  There are so many new, small (< 7 inches) raspberry plants growing in the patch that we (I) will have to weed it or else we will constantly be stepping on the new plants when we pick raspberries.  

FYI, the Trinity of Tedious and Back-Breaking Tasks consists of 1) digging up/planting the potato patch, 2) trellising/planting the pea patch, and 3) weeding the raspberry patch.  Any weeding, unless it can be done with a hoe, is liable to be approached with a deep sigh of resignation and followed by an Epsom salt bath!

Some of the dahlias that were zapped by the frost are showing signs of bouncing back.  Fingers crossed that they make a full recovery!

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