Saturday, April 19, 2014

Old Man Winter Smackdown, Part 107...

Thursday's "dusting" turned out to be six inches of heavy snow for us.

Just a dusting!

Gale force winds again today, but the snow is receding and the temperature may reach 67!!!

So we begin gardening season again....

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Snow incoming!

As Prince once said "Sometimes it snows in April".   Last year it snowed in May!  The Horror!
I am reminded that I missed Garden Bloggers Bloom Day yesterday but I do actually have a few crocus boldly flowering.  Despite the very Cold and Windy (!!!) weather this week, the garden moves toward spring.

I'll trot outside before the flakes fall and we shall have signs of life, I say life!

Good grief, Charlie Brown.   I went right out into the beginnings of steenkin' snow!  Nasty snow.  Despite my coo cooing about it just being moisture the other day, it is in truth unwelcome!  Bad, bad snow.  Woof.

My crocus are shut up tight against the cold and wind!

Looking forward, this east facing area is marked out for new raised beds coming this very weekend, perhaps.   It's the sort of thing I can ask for as a combined Easter/Mother's Day gift.   Clever me.  Good timing on those holidays.  ^-^

The dogs enjoy being outdoors no matter the weather.  It was so hard this winter when there were days cold enough that they could freeze solid before 5 minutes were up.  That isn't nearly enough time to check things out if you're a beagle.

Friday, April 11, 2014

This is the sort of day we like to call "Spring"

Finally today the sun was shining and the horrid blasts of wind were gone.  I raked out more leaves and got them in my composter.  I have so many more leaves that I'm going to make a compost heap from green metal posts and chicken wire.

I ruthlessly chopped at two lilacs that were in my way.  I only need them to provide screening at about a 6 ft level, they aren't meant to be specimens.   I have about 20 lilacs still in the front yard so don't weep for my lilacs.

The Creature (my neighbor) was apparently spirited away to assisted living or something of that sort in the dead of winter.  I don't need to block her anymore but certainly someone will occupy the house sooner or later.

I'm putting in one each of dwarf Zestar and  dwarf Honeycrisp apple trees this spring and after looking up their growing requirements and ultimate size, I have spots picked out for them.

Also incoming are a red currant, a gooseberry and a "pink" blueberry.  Those I haven't quite placed in my mind yet.   I have two other blueberries I'm moving from their current locations.

A hydrangea that has bloomed perhaps twice?  Poof.   When I do a makeover, the scraggly get the boot.

Pruning isn't easy.  I don't seem to have much strength in my hands or arms so for a few of those branches I had to brace the pruner and do one of those "this is blah blah's head" things before really applying the pressure needed.   It's the thing you do when you can't open a jar, right?

Crocus happily un-leafed

I love strawberries and have had variable luck growing them.  I have some "Pineapple" Strawberries growing under lights.

This winter I went wild and ordered Jung's "Strawberry Pyramid" something I've secretly lusted after my whole gardening life.  If not now, when?

I have just the spot picked out.  I did not buy the netting cover kit or the winter cover kit but I might.
I haven't taken it out of the box because it is supposed to be a six foot circumference which means it is wound pretty darn tightly in its little box.

Blow Ye Winds, Hi Ho!

As I've been bringing out plant stands and other garden ornaments and raking leaves there have been the most annoying gusty winds. Three days which should have seemed lovely and warm just blown to you know where.  Grrr.

I put both mini-greenhouses out along the fence in my veggie garden, put bricks on the bottom to hold them in place, and was pretty pleased yesterday afternoon that they were still in place despite the winds.

In fact, I had just happily noted in my garden journal that they were still in place.  I went into the garage for a tool, heard an odd sound...there was the lighter of the two greenhouses in a bed way across the garden and the other was face down where it had moments before stood.   :(

Both sustained tears in their delicate plastic.  They come in odd little pieces that fall apart when you try to move the greenhouse.   I wrestled the rover back into place with the wind trying to blow the cover off of the frame.   Put the pieces back in their slots.  Lifted the other and fixed it.

What would mom say?  That's right!  "We are not so easily defeated!"

I got stakes from the garage and pounded them in strategically at the front and sides.  Used some earth staples on the bottom racks to secure a bit more.   Still standing this morning!

The winds also made it unpleasant to continue uncovering beds because the leaves, though wet, were easily lofted.

Instead I started some amaranth seeds and put them under lights.

I also used two different cultivators on my  raised veggie beds to fluff things up.  I have not used these much in the past, but I've been watching You Tube videos on garden tools and their use.  I have been doing it ALL WRONG.  I've been doing things the hard way because that is how I am.  Thankfully I learn the EZ way after awhile and then find something else to do the hard way.

The cultivators (which I shall photograph later) really did a nice job.   Since I was already cranky from the wind, I was made additionally cranky because the beds have so many roots in them. Grr people. I do raised beds to avoid roots.  I like trees, but they are greedy bad boys.  I thought you should know.

"Figure B" Fluffed up beds.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

What a difference a day makes, indeed.  Despite it feeling colder and much windier, the snow line has crept back in the yard.

I spent a lot of time today bringing out bird baths and have my little tractor ready to remove the leaves from this garden.  I see little spears of green peeking up and it is best to get the covering off before the crocus are coming up.  It is so putsy to carefully peel the leaves off of the flowers.

I brought out all of the little garden critters.

I love my newest pots and will enjoy finding just the right plant and the right place in the garden for them.

I managed to get the workbench cleared off for the most part. Tomorrow the potting bench!

Poppy Princess Louise boldly peeks out...

One of my mini-greenhouses is in place, I'll get the other out there tomorrow.   Temperatures may reach a dazzling 70!  I'll clear the veggie beds and pop some peas, carrots and cabbage in for starters.

Once again while I was working outside I thought how nice it is to have the time to do everything I want to do. 

Buzzfeed: 26 Types of English Majors

I was 5, 21, 25.   Still rockin' 5 because nobody owns more notebooks than I do. (wink)


Let Gardening Season Begin!

After last Thursday's mongo snowstorm, a person could be discouraged if they weren't a gardener.  The gardener says posh on snow.  It is just moisture says the gardener.

Warm temperatures this week should melt the snow, though our north facing front yard may look like snowmageddon for awhile yet.   I wouldn't mind except that I've spent time out in the warm! (50s) sunshine this weekend and I'd like to drag my nice two seater swing chair out and into the back yard.

The two feet or so of remaining snow out front creates a problem.  As it is, I try to do this sort of move in semi-stealth mode so the neighbors aren't having a laff riot watching me drag the sucker.

Luckily I have a nice cement bench out there that I can dream my dreams on for the nonce.

I feel really energized by the sun and warmth.  This gives me yet another opportunity to quote my professor of Transformational Generative Grammar from college:  "No better than the plants we are!  When it is cloudy we flop over unhappily, when the sun is out we are full of life and blooms."

I noticed a big vole attack on the east side where I am going to concentrate my garden this year.  It looked like someone was out there just digging a bunch of little holes with a stick.  A blog called Minnesota Rose Gardener recommends castor oil and dish detergent in the holes.  He also mentioned some chemical thing but no no, we're not putting poisons out where I plan to grow things.

Figure "A" Vole Holes

As an additional garden challenge this year I'll try to post something on the 15th of each month for what is called "Garden Bloggers Bloom Day".  Started by garden blogger May Dreams Gardens, you post what is in bloom on the 15th of the month year round.I'm not starting a separate garden blog, since I don't seem to be posting on those which exist.  We'll just use the everything plus the kitchen sink DOA blog.  There, there.

This entire area will be transformed this year to hold all of my plants.  Consider this the "before".

East Side Gardens  April 7 2014