Wednesday, April 30, 2014

little weather update

So far this week we have had cold, rain and after day of cold, rain and wind.  So we have quite a few two inch diameter and smaller branches down, nothing dangerous or damaging just smallish branches on the ground under the trees.  The grass is green and starting to grow. 

Nothing new has been planted outside.  The things that are planted are not yet growing, no peas are sprouted, no potatoes are growing.  Before the weather started I planted  six of the January tomatoes in one of the boxes that will be the hoop house.  We had the hoops up but no plastic yet and I planned to get the plants in and the plastic on but the wind made it almost impossible to do anything outside and certainly working with a big sheet of plastic was never going to happen.  So today I did a little work on the hoops which were no longer in place and took a little look at the beat up tomatoes.  Tomorrow I hope to get the plastic on, I have cut up short pieces of hose that I am hoping that will be enough to hold the plastic in place on the left and right hoops.

I have been doing some potting up in the greenhouse.  The onions and leeks are looking good and i am thinking about starting to plant some outside.  The same with the earliest lettuces and greens.  We have lots of  asparagus plants but I think that they need to go out once it is more reliably warm.  Lots of small tomato plants are sitting there in their red solo cups and the propagation mat has trays of newly seeded stuff waiting to sprout. 

The blueberries have been moved.  They are still dormant.  Today the cranberries arrived.  They look great.  The part of the sandbox that they are going to be planted in has the sand/peat mixture.  The directions that came with the plants suggests adding bonemeal, bloodmeal, rock phosphate and epsom salts to the planting mix so I am hoping to be able to find all or some of them by the time the rain quits and the planter box is not quite so saturated.   

A package arrived from one of the catalogs that Mom ordered from and this package contains the watermelon and cucumber and Indian corn and two types of popcorn seeds.  The watermelon seeds are black diamond, a watermelon that Caitlin and I purchased at a cute farm shoppe that she discovered on a detour last summer.  We bought a watermelon and it was pretty good so when the Burgess catalog had the seed packets I decided to give them a try.  I will get a few of them planted in the greenhouse tomorrow so that by the end of the month we will have transplants ready to go into the garden.  We also ordered some new fruit bushes and nut trees and I am assuming that they will come at the right time to plant them. 

I have been lamenting the fact that I did not get my straw bales uncovered and set into place before all this rain hit.  Some of the reading that I have been doing about straw bale gardening describes conditioning (watering) the bales every day for a couple of weeks before planting in them.  Each year we insulate our underground well room with eight straw bales and usually they are wet by spring and they just go onto the compost pile.  This year we covered them a little bit better and so I plan to move them and plant them.  I am hoping to get them arranged east of the orchard so that they can grow vegetables but also kill the grass where come fall I am hoping to plant at least one row of grapes that will be trained on wires vineyard style.  I am excited to try it.  I have never grown in a straw bale garden before but if it goes well I am planning for next year to consider making cute wood frames for bales and to make them a more regular part of the garden.  I am hoping that they will eventually work well on the concrete that we have in front of the greenhouse.  Last week I had friends stop to see how things were going in the greenhouse and we talked straw bale gardens.  They are on vacation for a couple of weeks and will be away from home but they have a timer ans soaker hose conditioning their bales while they are gone.  He is expecting their bales to last for two years.  If that is correct we could have a16 bale garden, replacing eight bales each year. 

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