Thursday, May 25, 2017

These Old Walkin' Shoes: Keep on Growing

As you probably all know, we are a gardening family. With all the rain over the last month, we’ve had a hard time getting out to the garden to get it cleaned out and planted for the year. Finally, last night, we were able to get outside to work in the garden. We got all the weeds pulled, ready for the rototiller. It’s a start.

 Last fall, the weather turned so abruptly cold that we were unable to get out to totally clean out the garden. So, we ended up with a major case of weeds in the plot. We probably spent an hour pulling them. We didn’t want to till through them. All that would do would be spread the seeds and the weeds even thicker, choking out the plants we want to grow.

So, now we have a mountain of weeds that need to disappear. And now we can see the garden space very clearly. Even after all the rain we’ve gotten this spring, the soil in the garden is very dry. Part of it could be the weeds sucking up all the water. The other could be that it rained so hard that it mostly ran off. Either way, it’s something we need to address.

Wendy suggested that we dump what compost we have left on the garden and then get a couple yards of garden mix from a local topsoil company. She’s probably right. It will make the plants grow better and keep the weeds down for the most part. We’ll still have to keep up on it, but it will be easier to handle. Plus, with the news that the prices of produce are going to significantly increase, we need a great harvest this year.

I currently have a rain barrel to collect the rainwater coming off the roof of the garage. Actually, it is simply a plastic garbage can, and it has a hole in it from being left outside for the last two winters. I have plans to put a new system in place. I want to get a square can rather than a round one, put it right against the garage, and let the rain drain directly into it from the downspout. I will have to put a spigot at the bottom of the can and then run soaker hose throughout the garden. It should keep everything well watered. That’s the plan anyway.

Every year, we get too many plants for the space we have. Somehow, we get them all in there, and end up with a lot of good produce. Last year, we had so many hot peppers, we couldn’t give them away. I think we may go with less pepper plants this year, and trade them out for something new and interesting. With the extra wet spring, that new and interesting may end up being rice.

In the meantime, the raspberry plants are taking over their section along the side porch. Somehow, a plant got into the strawberry beds, too, and it’s gone crazy. At least that’s what I think it is growing there. I’ll have to take a closer look before either ripping them out or transplanting them to hang out with the rest of the raspberry plants.

The rain has been good for one thing. The strawberry plants look amazing. There are more blossoms on the plants than I’ve ever seen before. Hopefully, they produce fruit as well as they produce flowers. It should be a good year for them. On the other end of the spectrum, my rhubarb looks weak. This is the second year for the rhubarb to fair subpar. My mother’s plants, which came off from mine several years ago, look great. Maybe it’s time to get some new plants.

If you like horseradish, I’m the guy to see. I now have three full plants with another trying to sneak up around the garden box at the back of the garage. I’ll have to be careful or it will completely take over the garden. But hey, who doesn’t love horseradish?

I’m hoping that as our garden grows, our column from last year, “My Imperfect Plot,” makes a comeback. It was a popular column and like the garden, it’s great to see progress. For a small garden with a big family, we do quite well. Anyone can do it.

Craig Bacon hopes to be able to get the garden all planted this weekend. It looks like rain, but we might be able to squeeze it in between drops.