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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May Day!! -- or May Eve at least...

The beginning of May is celebrated by various folk in various ways with different names.

I grew up knowing it as "May Day" when the actual awakening of the earth was celebrated (in Michigan where I grew up, it had actually awakened visibly in many ways; here in Maine it is a bit more subtle), in my family, with the making and distributing of May Baskets. These cute and quick baskets Mom and I crafted from Dixie cups and various other craft materials. i remember gathering crepe paper cut into strips to skirt the cups and braiding ribbon for handles and to cover the gathering thread when tied around the cup. this was before hot glue, so we used Elmers, or staples or sewed things together.

The idea was to make a basket that could hang from neighbors' door handles, containing a small bouquet of spring flowers --  forsythia sprigs and violets, I remember for sure...

The protocol was to sneak up to the house, hang the basket, ring the bell (or knock if needed) and then run and hide to make sure the basket was found and you were not discovered.

I don't do that now... couldn't run if I had to and have no neighbors who would understand, I fear... as well as there being a few, if any, growing things to fill the basket. The pussy willows have gone by, the forsythia is not yet blooming and only a few crocus grace my bulb bed.

Instead I celebrated the turning of the wheel today by cleaning runner grass from one of the asparagus beds and the walkway between the beds.
Doesn't look like much, I know... but the bed on the right shows what it all looked like yesterday morning. You can see some of the "weedblock" fabric rolled up, a roll of black stuff and "weed sod" and the runner grass, green and dead, that is choking the veggie despite the expensive stuff.

The yellow tipped rods mark the locations of the asparagus plants that were still showing above ground in the area I worked, BUT there are others hiding under the earth. I found this out the hard way; pulling on what I thought, by feel, was a rhizome from the grasses I unearthed an asparagus crown! I promptly re-planted it and changed my plans.

I had originally planned to lay the cardboard mulch as soon as I had the beds "weed free" but with the promise of hidden "fruit" I have decided to only mulch the walkways initially. I will manure the speargrass and wait until it has emerged, which will likely be a month or so from now, and then, once everyone has been found, I'll do a light cultivation to remove as many of the rhizomes that I have missed that I can, and then lay down the cardboard and hopefully some mulch hay.

I have another 25 plants to put in, which means another row or more; those will get cardboard as well between and a promise of more once they all emerge.

I'd like to complete renovation of the remaining bed tomorrow, but that will depend on the weather; there is rain in the forecast and for much of the week.

It is also, so the feel of the soil tells me, time to plant potatoes. And onions, but that will wait as I do not use sets and the seedlings just started getting hardened off today. But all in good time!

Any day I can get dirt under my fingernails and help something to grow is a good day and I think this a great way to celebrate the turning of the year.