Food, Flowers, and a Pitchfork
April 27, 2014
I have trouble focusing on just one thing in the garden. This is an important time to be planting early spring vegetables and thinking about producing food, but I am also keeping my eye on the beauty of the flowers and taking a little time to clean them up and weed around the beds. I love seeing the trees and shrubs starting to leaf out and bloom. Even the lawn must be attended to a little. In all the activity I am always watching birds and even what is crawling in the compost pile. Like I said, I have trouble focusing and specializing. I just dabble in whatever interests me at the moment.
Serviceberry amelanchier laevis. This native serviceberry is blooming now with a promise of sweet berries in June. It grew so much this past year that I am guessing it is eight feet tall now and is solidly established after a slow start.
Another native shrub – spicebush lindera benzoin. It looks like this shrub could use some pruning, but the tiny yellow flowers are just starting to bloom. There are no berries here, but it is a host plant for the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. Actually, I think I might get berries if I had a second spicebush for cross-pollination. You can see the serviceberry bush in the background.
I spent quite a while yesterday morning cleaning up four strawberry patches I have around the garden. First I cleaned out dead leaves and pulled up runners. I moved some of the smaller plants to new locations. I put down compost between the plants and watered it in then laid down straw from my ornamental grasses between the plants. That keeps the strawberries off the ground and there are less problems with pests and diseases. Can’t wait!
Time to eat these onions. This weekend I planted more onion bulbs, red potatoes, and seeds for peas, kale, pak choi, turnips, and lettuce. I am also trying spinach again, which I have never had much success with. These plants all do well in cool weather. There never seems to be enough room for all the vegetables I want to plant, so I mix them in with the flowers or pull up more grass to plant more food.
A project for the weekend was putting in two poles for laundry. Previously we only had one laundry line. Thanks Dan!! The green side of me likes to limit my use of the gas dryer whenever possible. In the background you can see the red leaves of the crabapple. In the foreground the common lilac is getting ready to bloom. On the left are the strawberries. The yellow daffodils are still looking good, but starting to wind down in some areas.
This is one of the later daffodils with white petals and a yellow trumpet.
Another late daffodil with a peach colored trumpet. I am glad to see these flowers multiplying each year.
I started to turn the compost pile yesterday, but realized that the shovel I was using was likely to slice a lot of worms in half and kill other critters in the pile, so I went and got this pitchfork. It is called a 5-tine manure fork. Now I really feel like a farmer! I need to finish turning the pile. Parts of the pile were steaming but other parts seemed a little slimy, so it needs some oxygen. We have gotten a lot of leaves blowing in from the neighbor’s yards this year, while I appreciated and added to the pile.
I disturbed a nice worm while cleaning up the oregano patch. The worms improve the structure of the soil and eat organic material like bits of dead leaves, then poop out worm castings, which are great fertilizer.
Wild violets are blooming in the lawn and here among the ground cover plants. Such a delicate design! I am not sure what I will do to improve the front lawn this year. I would like a nice organic lawn service to make it look good! The back lawn, which I do not worry much about, is full of creeping charlie, my least favorite plant.
Notice: At some point this blog will run out of storage space. At that point I am thinking of starting a new blog that will refer back to this blog. I guess I will do this when I have to and I am not sure when that will be. I don’t feel like paying for the additional storage space indefinitely.