As the temperatures warmed the peas broke through the compost layers and reached forward to sunnier days and warmer nights.
I spent a couple hours constructing a small cold frame using some found materials so I could get my seedlings out of the basement. The results were great until I had a few casualties due to a very early morning heading out to work when the temps were still below 40... by the time I got home later that day it was 80+ and the temp in the cold frame soared to 115.
We also got a last minute appointment with a local arborist friend to come by and limb up the maples and oaks around the homestead that were long overdue for it and also had a few trouble spots that quickly got remedied. He always enjoys limbing, especially when I tell him to just leave the branches where they lay and I'll take it from here. Though it always translates into a much bigger mess than I anticipate. My general course of action is to go in with a big pair of lopers and clear out all the leaf bearing branches and start 4 piles. Green Branches/ Long Straights/ Short Straights and Firewood. This time I also made a point to set aside a dozen mushrooom growing sized logs as well!
Maple logs are ready for their mushroom inoculation!
(more on that process in a future post!)
Hazel has been a great garden helper this year at age 3 and a half... her favorite garden projects are watering the thirsty plant and you may have guessed, DIGGIN BLACKBERRIES!
Everyday like clockwork Ive been hitting the trench with Hazel and our shovels, digging up the numerous blackberry shoots that pop up daily. Eventually I will either cover all this area with tarps to smother the remains or sheet mulch with cardboard and woodchips to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
Did someone say mulch? We got a drop from the local garden supply that gets their mulch from a local lumber mill and this one was hemlock which is completely natural and has some pest resistant oils that is a bonus for using around the perimeter of our raised beds.
The process is pretty simple, make a woven layer of cardboard, make sure you remove all stickers and tape, I use some that have limited ink on them but not sure its all that big of a deal especially because Im mainly using this process in the pathways of my raised beds and to smother overgrowth. Anyhow, use a hose and wet the cardboard thoroughly and then apply 2-3" of mulch on top!
I also used a hand edger and carved a nice trench with a shovel to delineate the line of grass and mulch that hopefully that will minimize the weeding in our growing space.
Don't forget to make the homestead a little more homey with a fresh mulch on the front rock beds we constructed a few years ago too!
First section complete... now on to edging around the tomato bed and smaller flower beds.
Sugar snap peas are climbing, lettuce is getting harvested by the leaf, onion, kale, cabbage, various peppers, eggplant, beets, chard, pickling cukes, nasturtiums, corn and chard in these beds.
Three varieties of beans, osaka greens radish and carrots in this bed.
In the foreground is our potato tower that is sprouting with Adirondack Blues and Green Mountain taters followed by the added half moon bed thats planted with two types of cukes, sugarbaby watermelon, some strawberry transplants and marigolds.
I found the tomato bed to be successful but really only the left side receives enough full sun to ripen tomatoes to a suitable sizing, therefore I transitioned the right side into a salad bed where I spread various leftover seeds including multiple varietals of arugula, watercress and various lettuces along with cilantro and parsley! This section will get planted every 2-3 weeks and hopefully that will provide us with our daily salad provisions throughout the growing season.
Loving the organic curves of the beds as they lure me in and invite me to weed and pay even more attention than typical.
Overall Im very excited and motivated to continue pushing the homestead into the next chapter and really harnessing the useful space by smothering the negligence of past seasons and enriching the productivity and potential of the rest of the land before us.
Ladyslippers where in high production this year, usually I count 5-8 around the homestead, on one occasion this May I counted 14!
Stay tuned for a Mushroom Log Inoculation post as we wrap up this week