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sir archely

Garden Report v2.4 - Getting Muddy

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[Originally posted April 15, at In the future, all posts will be posted there originally, and I will cross-post them here as I get the time.]

So, it only took me 4 weeks to break my promise of a post a week. In my defense, last weekend I didn't do anything with the gardening. To make up for it, I'll have two posts this week. This first one is all of the outside things I finally got to do this week with the nice weather. Tomorrow or the next day I'll post a short (I think...) update on what's going on with the inside gardening and seed-starting.

This week I broke out the soil thermometer (Thanks Ron) and took the temp. You can see the wooden soil thermometer in the middle foreground of the picture. Over the course of a day, I checked the temperature at a few times, and it was close to 60° F for most of the measurements. Even though it's still fairly cool for air temperature, and the soil is 15-20° cooler a few more inches down, the 60° temp stayed fairly steady.

My mind made up, I took the time to add some bone meal and blood meal to the soil for the nutrients, and then turned over the top couple inches of three of the beds with a hoe. The fourth bed is still extremely wet and waterlogged, and I just left it alone for now. I'm hoping it doesn't rain too much this weekend, and things dry out a little more. Turning it over was so easy this year; I'm extremely happy with the decision last fall to eschew the cover crop. Plus, the soil really looked good, and the addition of more peat last fall made a noticeable difference today. I was kind of surprised to discover that a couple things from last year are still trying to survive. Two different celery roots have sent up new growth. I was going to let them go and see what happened, but after some reading online, it seems like all they will do is go directly to seed: do not pass stalks. So though they were left in today, I'll rip them out the next time I do some bed work. The same thing happened with one of the left-in red cabbage roots. No idea what's going on there, but I'll let it go for a bit as an experiment.

As you should already be able to see, this soil temperature meant it was time for me to plant some things out in the beds directly. First up were the peas. This year I opted to do away with the "shelling" peas from last year entirely. Who wants to shell peas? And with only a single row in the garden, it wasn't like I was getting enough peas to make shelling worth it anyway. I did expand the pea section from last year. Instead of half the width of a bed, it's now the entire width, and composed entirely of snap peas (Cascadia variety). This will make eating them while I garden much more enjoyable. Perhaps some will make it to the house since I've expanded how many are being planted, but I doubt it. In that bed with the thermometer, you can probably also make out some small white tags. These mark where I planted mesclun salad mix and spinach. The spinach completely failed last year, but I think it was mostly my fault for not paying close enough attention and letting it go to seed. This year I'll know better. Same goes for the mesclun mix, which I will thin more aggressively this year, and harvest sooner. I need the space for later crops anyway, so it'll have to come out.

I took a little break, but came back later in the day to put up the pole bean trellises and plant the pole beans (Kentucky Wonder). As with the mesclun mix, the peas, and the spinach, I exhausted my seed supply from the previous year. And as with the peas, I doubled the number of beans I planted from last year. I put cucumbers on one of the trellises last year, in addition to having them on the back chain link fence. This year the cucumbers will only be going along the fence. Since we had beans coming out of our ears last year (I think there is actually a little bit of badly freezer-burned beans in a bag in the back of the freezer yet), I'm going to be giving away a lot of beans this year. Things outside are actually starting to look like a garden again, instead of four big muddy pits in the back yard.

As for the status of the perennials: The sage is dead and gone, drowned in the most waterlogged corner of the waterloggiest bed. By contrast, the oregano next to the sage seems to be doing okay. I think I'll just let it take over the sage spot, and try sage somewhere else. The garlic is starting to really go gangbusters, and I think some of them have put on two inches just since last week. The strawberries and chives are also looking good, both growing well. No sign of asparagus yet, but hopefully that will come. It would be depressing if it decided to call it quits after just one year, and no harvest at all.

Finally, I have a bit of a challenge for everyone. I found some things in the yard that I could not identify at all. Since coming in with the pictures, I've identified two of the three, but the third still has me stumped. Unfortunately, it's the third one that's really interesting to me, the other two were pretty clearly weeds from the get-go. So, can anyone identify these three? I'll give answers for the first two if nobody comes up with them, but the third has me stumped, so any help would be appreciated. Edit: Okay, no need to get worked up over 3, I figured it out. Duh.

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  1. AquaFizz's Avatar
    So, just so you don't think some random creepy stranger is following your actual blog: audiodaughter=Me. I'm sort of starting to garden this year (in that I've got a salsa garden in a container and I planted more bulbs by our front fence), so I'm hoping your awesomeness will inspire me to not forget about my own endeavors.
  2. Eyreplenh's Avatar
    WIll you tell us what they were, either way? I only recognized the first, and that was not in some "I know it's namus latinus" way, just the "I think I've seen a plant kind of looking like this before"

    You are one thorough son of a gun, sir, and I tip my imaginary hat for you!
  3. sir archely's Avatar
    The first is common mullen, the second is chickweed, and the last one is a hyacinth.


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