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Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend, Time to Plant The Garden

Unlike the typical gardener here in Maine, I do not plant everything all at once Memorial Day weekend. The common wisdom is that this is the time to plant and tilled earth springs up like magic in yards everywhere one turns. It doesn't matter that some crops like the cooler weather of spring and others need the soil to be thoroughly warm. It doesn't matter that, by putting in just one planting of each crop you only have a relatively small window in which to enjoy each crop fresh, and in which you go nuts processing, if you are the sort who puts food by.

This year has been really strange though. Warm (hot actually) and then snow, and rain, rain, rain. When it finally would dry out enough to work the soil it froze and baked some more. None of my early plantings got in on time, partly on account of the weather and partly because of the chicken pen follies. Marauding fowl are not conducive to planting. I did get some early lettuce and cabbage transplants out (covered them up to protect them from the fowl) and seeded a bit of lettuce, beets, carrots and planted the potatoes but only recently have they shown themselves. The spinach never did come up and the first planting of peas is terribly spotty.

In the herb bed, the Chinese lanterns are returning from last
year, though they got beat badly by the hail. Calendula and
basils, along with other herbs, have been added.
With the abundance of mulch hay from the great chicken barn that protected them from the elements this past winter, I am planning to do a LOT of mulching; Hay over the opened paper feed sacks should make an adequate weed block for some crops and keep the soil moist as well. Many of the seedling herbs are small, so it takes a bit of time to mulch, leaving holes for the seedlings to emerge as they grow. Just beyond where the garden cart sits in the photo to the left I have planted Goldenseal, in an area that gets shade from noon on.

I was pleased to see that the discounted living Yule tree that we bought for the past holiday has decided to grow and thrive. As per instructions, it was only in the living room for a little over a week; the rest of the winter it lived in the cold back room, by a window and was watered fairly regularly. I was worried, since it was hard to water (the pot being larger than would fit well into the largest garden saucer I could find) and had been discounted as well.

Today was spent working in the main garden; I planted out most of the tomato seedlings (over 150 row feet) and seeded corn and pinto bean rows (200 row feet of corn, 100 of pintos) in the area of garden that K just got tilled. I started planting with the potatoes, pretty much in the middle of the garden, this spring. I was trying to keep a bit of separation between the 'maters and 'taters. I wanted to make the potato beetles WORK for their chow.  LOL  So the last of the tomato plants and a few peppers will go in beyond the corn and bean rows, adjacent to the potatoes.

Deer Fence
Also got the deer deterrent fence deployed. Not to be patting myself on the back too hard, but this is the first year I got it out BEFORE anyone started eating in the garden.

It consists of white plastic step in posts around the garden, with 2 strands of lightweight nylon monafilament fishing line stretched between them. Believe it or not, this actually keeps the deer out and has for the past 3 year. Even after they KNOW there is good stuff to eat inside (as they did the first few years, when I was slow getting the fence up) they will not go through it. They cannot see it to jump over and when the walk into it, I guess it's like us walking into a spider web unexpectedly.... the FREAK and RUN away. No, I have not seen this, but I have seen the gently stepping footprints walking up to the fence and, dug deeply into the muddy driveway, the tracks of the same animal departing on a different path.