Ordinarily, I try to cram all my fun activities into evenings and weekends, which can be frustrating when the weather doesn't cooperate. But this week I took advantage of the sunshine by taking a couple of afternoons off and spending them in my backyard. The result: I will not fret during the next rainy patchy, slated to start today and last for days. I did not accomplish everything there was to do, but enough that I feel like I got a jump start on the season.
Wednesday afternoon my SO came over and we wrestled some hardware cloth into what I hope will be a vole-proof potato cage. I did not come up with this idea myself, but saw it in a Growers Supply catalog, one of those I receive in the mail even though I have never ordered from them. Basically, we scraped all the dirt off one garden bed, laid down hardware cloth for the bottom, wrapped sides around the bed, overlapping everything, fastened where fastening seemed necessary, then threw in enough dirt to hold the thing in place.
Thursday I added seed potatoes and shoveled the rest of the dirt back in, worked in a little blood meal, then covered it all with a thin layer of straw. Grow, little taters, grow!
I worked up the pea bed on Wednesday and the onion bed on Thursday. It is gratifying to see that my hardpan clay is becoming more friable as the years pass.
While I turned the top six inches or so and broke up the clods with a hoe, I wondered what my neighbors think of all the manual labor I put into my garden. The thing is, I spend most of my days sitting in front of a computer. If I didn't garden manually, I would have to join a gym. And start seeing a shrink. Playing in the dirt goes a long way to maintaining my mental and physical well-being.
I marvel at the periwinkle raised beds and persimmon window boxes highlighted in gardening catalogs, and wish my garden looked prettier. But the prices are prohibitive. My solution is to at least try to make my beds straight-ish. Since I don't till, I also plan to relocate some lilies to the ends of each one. Let nature provide the beauty.
The pea fence has seen better days, but it still functions (with a little help). I actually planted the snow peas and lettuce yesterday, too.
I also dug up the strawberry bed yesterday, too, but no strawberries or onions were planted. That's okay - gotta save something for the next dry spell.
Inside, I noticed that the blossoms on my little pepper plants are starting to form fruit, without any pollination assistance on my part.