Thursday, April 26, 2012

Garden Clean Up

With each changing of the seasons a good garden clean up is called for to either prepare for planting or to button things up before winter hits. Since our garden clean up for last summer, fall and winter seemed to be thwarted by pregnancy, this Springs was particularly necessary. Luckily, I truly revel in a long day of pruning and  making things pretty once again. I do have to admit however, that I was a little nervous this time, since it was my first hard work outside day since Claire was born. I am pleased to report that my time out of commission doesn't seem to have slowed me down!

Last weekend Helen, Jeff and I attacked the front yard to get it ready for the summer garden (I didn't even try to put in a spring garden this year). I first took stock of the herb bed. It looked as if my herbs were having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde split. On one side the sage was dead, on the other it was growing wildly into the parsley's territory. For some strange reason my parsley on one side of the bed had bolted while on the other side it was still producing normally. I decided to rip out the long dead plants left over from summer, give a nice hard cut back to freshen up the stuff that was still alive, and make plans for new herbs I needed to buy or start seeds for. I'm going to just replace all the parsley and will be starting some seeds for that since parsley is fairly easy to grow. I already bought a sage plant to replace the side that had died, and when Trader Joes gets their basil plants in I will buy two of those. One item I still need to figure out in the herb bed is what to do with the random rose plant that has grown back from the roots of the one I ripped out. I didn't know roses would do that and apparently didn't take enough care when removing the roses that used to inhabit that space. I might pull it out and pot it for now and decide on its fate latter.

Next I moved on to some pruning along the side of the yard. My pineapple sage had grown to the size of a human, completely covering everything else planted around it. I gave it a harsh hair cut back to about two and a half feet high and trimmed back a lot of the jasmine vines that had started to cover the ground. I also trimmed back our corner tree as it was starting to get in the way of opening the gate that leads to the back yard. Helen took her pruning sheers to  the ice plant and pine bush thing that grows in the middle of our yard. She ripped our the ice plant and cut the already dead pine bush (a victim of the ice plant) back to the ground.

Squash Bed Before
Squash Bed After
The biggest project for the day was to remove the carpet of weeds that had take over the squash side of the yard. Helen pulled while I turned the soil over, cut the clover back into the soil and spread manure. It was hard but satisfying work to be sure. Our efforts also resulted in the discovery of massive numbers of snails which we took back to our chicken overlords.

Finally, we planted the front raised beds in tomatoes. I was foolish when I put in those raised beds and didn't put down anything to keep weeds from growing back up in them from the ground. Once I got all the grass and weeds pulled out I planted four Early Girls and Four San Francisco Fogs. These are both new ones for me, but I'm hoping they will work better in our cool windy front yard. I still have room for four more tomato plants out front, but I haven't decided if I'm just going to get more E.G.'s and S.F.F.'s or experiment with some other types.

Well that's it for the garden for now. When this little spat of storms pass I plant to direct sow some squash seeds out in the front yard and plant carrots in the third raised bed. How about you? Anyone else doing any garden adventures this summer?

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