Thursday, March 31, 2016

Asparagus syndrome

When I started square foot gardening, I followed the recommendation to place the beds close to the house, to improve the chances one would provide them adequate care. At least that is my excuse for where I put the asparagus bed. I have to admit it was handy to step out the patio door and cut a handful of spears for a meal. However, as my backyard became more crowded, the placement of the bed became more problematic. It was just plain in the way.

Meanwhile, I had started a second bed of asparagus (purple) in the garden proper. While the 4x4 bed by the house was fairly densely populated, the 8x4 one was not. Hence, yesterday's project to combine the two arose.

My original thought was to dig up all the crowns from both beds, then lay them out again, just like new. That idea quickly fell by the wayside, as digging up asparagus is a LOT of work. (One source suggests just starting over with newly purchased crowns rather than trying to relocate an existing bed. Now we know why.)

Thanks to the upper body strength of my SO, we were able to unearth the 4x4 bed. In the process, we learned something new: an asparagus crown will develop a LOT of roots and/or create NEW crowns. So while I may have planted 20 crowns, we wound up with a LOT more to plant.

Instead of digging out the 8x4 bed, we scooped out furrows between the existing rows and laid the "new" crowns in them. Then all was covered with a mixture of garden soil and horse manure. Today Mother Nature is watering in our efforts. Later, I will check to make sure everything is still underground.

A week or so ago, I succumbed to the store-bought asparagus siren call and purchased some grown in California. In NO way did that compare to what comes fresh from the garden. Establishing a productive asparagus bed takes time, but I am willing to wait.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Yesterday was too hot!

Sunny and 72 degrees feels WAY too warm. Today the temps are back down in the 50's, much more tolerable. What am I going to do come August?!?

The nice weather does get me outside, though. I cut down the ornamental grasses and one remaining clematis, dug quack grass and baby thistle out of some of the garden beds (happy to see the worms hard at work), and made note of the buds on the forsythia and rhododendron. Also, I glared at the signs of woodchuck incursion under the shed. My SO and I are plotting to raise the shed a foot or so, to make its dark underside less inviting.

The other day, while sitting on my living room couch, I could hear something unusual and ODD. I though maybe ducks were on the roof, (it has happened before), but it seemed too loud. While peering out the picture window, I saw the culprit - a woodchuck! He was in the mugo, gnawing on my house! What's next? A skunk under the deck?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Garlic is up, and so am I

Today is Day 12 of the worst head cold I have had in a long time. The fiery throat, sinus drainage, headaches, earaches, and cough aren't the worst - it's the overwhelming fatigue. But I am finally on the mend (knock on wood).

I managed to do a bit of yard work today, including dead heading the 'Limelight' Hydrangea. Standing in that area of the yard reminded me of my plan to install Bishop's Weed as an understory. This corner is a problem area that receives little sun most of the time, then a LOT of sun once summer hits its stride. The Hydrangea loves it, but other plants either starve for light or burn up. Hopefully, the Bishop's Weed will thrive there. And hopefully, I will be able to keep it under control, as it can become invasive. Rumor has it the variegated variety (which is what I ordered) is better behaved.

Inside, I have started broccoli and lettuce plants. I was a little leery of whether Beau, the Feline Destroyer of All Things Nice, would leave them be, but so far, so good. The daffodil my g'daughter picked did not fair so well. Not only did Beau knock over the vase, he broke it. No fresh flowers for me this year.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Last snow?

Last year, when it came time to take the lawn mower to the garden center for servicing, I had to drag it through the snow from the backyard shed. Today, when the reminder popped up on my phone, I considered a repeat performance, then decided if I wait a couple of days, the snow will be gone. That's how it has been this winter - cold and sometimes snow, followed by ridiculously warm temperatures. But now spring is near, so maybe we will just have the latter, not the former.

My SO and I attended the annual home and garden show a week or so ago. I may have found a source for the gazebo I envision. Also, I picked up some flower seeds from the Allen County Master Gardeners, including Cardinal Climber, which hummingbirds are purported to love. I was hoping to hook up with the guy who will help me with a new design for my yard, but we missed each other.

I'm starting some of the annual pre-planting chores, like rooting coleus transplants from the mother plant overwintering in the den. I also placed an order with Outside Pride, for some miniclover. I dislike treating my lawn, but occasionally succumb to my embarrassment over all the weeds. Also, the soil is compacted heavy clay. I'm hoping the miniclover will perform as described: aerating the soil, fixing nitrogen, tolerating drought (I fear we will have some dry summers ahead, thanks to El Nino), and in general, improving the health and appearance of my lawn. I'll test it in the backyard first.

I also ordered some Thunbergia (Black Eyed Susan Vine) and Cypress Vine seeds. Meanwhile, I meditate on how best to grow some of these annual vines on my pergola. I anticipate imitating the Chicago Botanical Garden, protecting the wood with flashing while growing the plants in wire baskets. Unless someone has a better idea? I'm open to suggestions.

My heron looks like a snowy egret today.