First Weekend of Work
Finally! A weekend warm enough to get outside and dig in the dirt!
You may recall that last weekend the weather was terrible, our soil was still partially frozen, and we weren't able to adhere to our original planting schedule.
Well, in a week's time the crocuses have bloomed and the soil has warmed (well, most of it, anyway). Because we had some catching up to do, our first weekend outside was a big one. Here's the run down of all the stuff we did.
1. Uncovered the fig tree:
Back in the fall we stacked potato boxes around the fig tree and filled them with leaves to protect the tree from the cold and wind. As you can see, the leaves kept the shape of the box. I guess we'll see in a few weeks how the tree fared as it leafs out again. Despite some droopy branches, there's at least one bud on it that looks ok so far, and if it made it through this harsh if a winter, I think it'll be a keeper.
2. Lots of garden bed prep. This means turning the soil and adding fertilizer. Normally we would amend with compost, but our pile is mostly still frozen. We'll just have to top-dress as soon as it thaws.
3. We transplanted cabbages and broccoli:
Above is one very young Red Express cabbage, mulched with compost and ready to grow.
4. We also fenced in all of our cabbage and broccoli immediately after planting them:
Last year we waited, and the results were disastrous. We haven't had much luck with broccoli since we moved out of Lawrence (thanks to all the local wildlife here), so this year we aren't screwing around. Kirk also picked up some garden staples to pin the bottom edge to the ground, which we hope discourages the critters before they can develop a taste for our cabbages.
5. We planted peas in some of those newly prepped beds:
Obviously it will be weeks unit they sprout, but just check out all that lovely, healthy soil!
6. We uncovered the garlic we planted last fall:
It doesn't look like much now, but those shoots will green up now that the mulch has been removed. I'm just glad they came back at all--it was a pretty harsh winter for these Mediterranean soft-neck varieties.
7. We kept plugging away at boiling down the last of our maple sap. This is the last weekend we will do this. The tree hasn't budded out yet, but the sap has slowed since our nights aren't getting below freezing much any more — only one day this past week did we hit that mark, and we're not expected to again in the foreseeable future.
8. We removed the glass covers to the cold frames where salad green had wintered over:
This cold frame can stay in place a bit longer, but the other one needs to be moved by next weekend for potato planting. Looks like we have some salad eating to do! (Bonus: We also dug up some forgotten carrots while prepping another bed for dill and cilantro, so we'll have an extra-good salad this week.)
9. We fertilized the orchard (normally something we do during a February thaw, but we didn't exactly have one of those this year).
10. We sowed dill and cilantro in our salad greens bed. Also, we noticed that all of the greens we started in the cold frame a few weeks ago have germinated:
This scattershot pile of seedlings is our mesclun, which is the only thing besides blocks of dill and cilantro that I can stand to have planted in such a messy fashion. For everything else, I insist upon grids and rows.
11. The henhouse received a good spring cleaning and airing out. We put away the water warmer and let the girls out for some exercise and winter rye snacking.
All in all, a solid weekend of work. We're almost caught up to our planting dates, although we had to postpone the snap peas due to some still-frozen soil and the potatoes due to not having received them in the mail yet. We'll get out own seed potatoes in the ground next weekend, and the nice folks at Johnny's promised the new varieties would ship by April 14th. That's later than usual, but that's what happens when you have such a cold winter.
Off to a good start!