Thursday, April 07, 2011

He's ba-a-a-ack!

This morning, while sitting in the West Wing, I kept hearing this noise.  I thought it was birds in the guttering, but it went on and on.  Finally, I went to investigate.  The stupid robin was at it again, attacking his reflection in my picture window.  I can't help but think it is the same one, but who knows?

Finny is a fanatic about (among many things) soil testing.  I bought a soil test kit a while back, but had never used it.  Since there is no time like the present, yesterday I tested my garden soil.  I took eight samples, although I expected them to be rather uniform, and I was right - they were uniform: uniformly LOW in nitrogen.  My soil test kit is not very fancy, but there was no mistaking the readings:  good levels of P and K, bad levels of N.  And the soil is more alkaline than it should be, something I attribute to the well water that supplies my outdoor faucets.  But the nitrogen surprised me.  I though my compost would provide that, but apparently I'm wrong.  So I will be amending my garden soil, with  manure and/or blood meal.  And to lower the pH, coffee grounds, pine needles, and sphagnum peat.  Finny, my zucchini thank you.

Margaret raised the subject of phenology recently.  Basically, phenology is planting according to nature's calendar instead of the one on the wall.  This can be tricky, depending on where you live and what varieties you grow.  For example, if I plant potatoes when the forsythia bloom, does it matter that my forsythia blooms later than my neighbor's?  Anyway, I decided to try to keep track of when flowers and shrubs bloom in my yard, to see if I can track them to when I plant vegetables in the garden.  My only concern is a late frost, something even Mother Nature can't predict.

Speaking of potatoes, they, along with the onions, arrived the other day.  And the underground utility guy came and marked my back yard yesterday.  I chatted with him about just how deep the utilities are buried.  He said the natural gas lines are three feet down, but the others - electricity, telephone, cable - are usually 6-9 inches down, maybe 12.  That is good to know, as my SO is coming over tonight, to help me dig holes for three redbud trees.

And so it begins.

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