Saturday, May 25, 2013

Now I know why schools have summer vacation

My last day of classes for the Spring semester was on Monday, and it got me to thinking about how wise the summer vacation was for the time is was invented. Just as my semester was ending, the yard work got kicked up a notch, and the rush is on!  My cucumbers did not make the last frost, so I have some new seedlings to put out, but even more exciting (to me) is that I am setting up my original garden, which has been overcome by weeds and trees. Yes, trees. If we ever destroy ourselves, I feel confident that some day, in some way, the earth with recover just as aggressively as my garden was taken over by its original nature.

This is one side of what used to be a lovely garden. Weeding isn’t much of a problem, but there are some weeds from hell in there and lots of new root systems to tear up.
This picture is from over a decade ago, and shows the other side of my old garden. You can see all of the rocks that were pulled out and laid around the perimeter. They are now buried under overgrowth and soil. This is the area that I will be planting the three sisters that I mentioned a while back. I have corn, several types of beans: snap and dry, and a few different winter squashes. I am also hoping to find a spot to plant the melons I have sprouting in my kitchen.

On the right are pictures of my “weeds from hell”. They are an invasive species, but I am not aware of the name yet. What makes them so evil? They spread in two ways, seeds from the pods as well as sprouting from an extremely long root system that spreads everywhere, even when you cut them down. Pulling them by hand is not an option as that will not pull the root out, so it is the shovel and hoe for this part of the project. These things are so bad that the instructions for removing them includes bagging them in plastic bags for the regular trash pick up! They don’t even want them in the compost.

So, after two hours of pulling and digging weeds, I managed to get half of the plot prepared for turning the soil. Since I hurt my shoulder and arm, I had to stop for now, but I got a lot done.
Maybe it doesn’t seem like much, but it really was a lot of work. There are two piles of weeds that need to be removed, but then I just have under a third of the plot left to finish, since I did a small bit to plant my out of control pumpkins earlier.
I also had to dig up the old brick path that I had laid down all those years ago. These bricks wore like iron though, so they will be repurposed, likely as another path somewhere. Here is a piece of the path I uncovered.
See it? I thought that I was being so clever, using all the left over bricks that we found in our yard the Spring after moving in. Okay, maybe I was a little, it did break up the plot nicely and gave me a clear spot to walk.

Of course, most of my other plants are thriving, including my peas and my brand new raspberry sproutlings! I am just so please to have such an accommodating neighbor as she is the one who gave them to me.  That was another patch that took over 2 1/2 hours to clear and prepare for the bushes. Fortunately, it has been raining off an on ever since, so I haven’t had to soak them by hand.WP_20130524_008
My brand new broccoli! Looking good so far.

Radicchio, Toy Choi and radishes. The Choi doesn’t have a very compact head, but it looks marvelous. This is my first time with Radicchio, so I am not entirely sure if it is on the right track, it sort of looks more like a leafy green, not the start of a purple head of spicy “cabbage”. There are also a couple nasturtiums in there vying for space. 

These are the snow peas I not only transplanted, but put in an old window box I had laying around. It is doing much better than the ones I put directly in the ground, but these guys have more sun, which is probably a big part of it.
Remember the rhubarb I split up a couple of months ago? Well, this one decided to seed itself. I am good with it as I wasn’t expecting a harvest this year anyway.

And my new babies!!! Look at how strong they are. I am very impressed and can’t wait for them to really begin bushing out a bit. Behind it are the last of my tiger lilies which will be dug up also when the time comes. I just have to have a hornets nest removed from the cinderblocks surround the bed, because, ow.
This is what the raspberry bed looked like before I cleared it out. There is also an overgrown, and mostly dead bush on the right. The roots are crazy! There was something satisfying about it all though.  After all of that and clearing the brush that had piled up as we cut down saplings, we had 10 full yard bags (the paper ones) to haul out to the curb. Next pick up in in a month, so I need to be ready for that too. Back in the day we would just burn the stuff, but not any longer. I did try to freecycle the wood, but no takers yet.

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