The last day of April started off clear, dry, and fairly cold. Then the first day of May turned out to be one of those wonderful Spring days, when it’s finally warm enough to work outside all day, and not uncomfortable in any way.
Had I realized what Sunday would bring, I wouldn’t have started in on the raised beds early Saturday morning. Yet I did. The first three beds being readied are for the onions, which will be planted well before the rest of the seedlings. But before working up the dirt, I had to repair the corner of one of the beds, as a combination of a wee bit of rot and winter ice blew out a corner. Some scrap hemlock and a couple of screws rendered it good as new for another season.
The ease of preparing the beds for another season is one of the big advantages over planting directly in the dirt. Once around the bed with the fork to pull out any weeds, screening off the soil into the wheelbarrow, and then a full turn over, making sure to get all of the soil into the mix, especially at the sides of the box. Then I dump in the reclaimed soil from the weed clumps, and rake smooth. Elapsed time per bed is maybe 15 minutes each, and no rototilling required. Here’s an after & before photo:
Once the first bed was done, I wasn’t noticing the chilly air any longer, and I moved on to the second and third future onion homes. Although these beds are four years old this season, the quality of the soil is still fantastic. The basic mix when new was ⅔ commercial topsoil and ⅓ horse-stall sweepings, stirred up well. I’m not militant about it, but I do try to be as organic as possible with the soil, as well as with fertilizer and other products used during the growing season. I think I do okay, as my friends below return each year in great numbers. Here are the three finished onion beds.
Over the past couple years we’ve had a groundhog-in-residence, with convenient dens spread around the property. By and large he’s been a good neighbor, which means he’s stayed out of the garden, and not munched on the landscaping around the house. He’s been out and about recently, probably looking for a girlfriend, and getting very close to the garden area as he wanders the fields. You may have noticed in the photos that there’s an electric fence around the garden. I’ve used them for years, and find them effective. I usually don’t hook it up this early, but this year I did. After connecting power to the fence, I had a talk with Groundhog of what happens if he ignores the fence. I hope he listened.
On Sunday I returned to the construction of the hanging baskets mentioned last week, as the liners arrived. Also built out some other planters for the patio once summer comes around. Below you’ll see the two hanging petunias, and a large ceramic planter of the same, along with some containers of marigolds and nasturtium. Having many seedlings this year, I decided to mix the nasturtiums and marigolds together in a tub. Only time will tell if some basic law of flower gardening has been violated doing this.