A bit about us...

We are a modern family of three, living on less than two acres with a 3,000 square foot garden that meets our produce needs and allows us to share with friends and neighbors. Our laying flock of chickens seems to expand each year as we raise chicks each Spring to replace older hens. This blog is more of a journal, if you will, for us to chronicle and share our experiences in the yard, garden and kitchen. It is our hope that along the way a few folks might learn something, be entertained, or simply enjoy sharing in our stories and the lessons we learn on a daily basis. I named the blog after the times when I am the happiest, when I am elbow deep in earth.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A good day outdoors

After a morning of not feeling well, I wasn't as supercharged about getting outside as I had hoped. I finally got working in the garden around 12:30. My first task was to completely finish tilling the garden.  The bottom end will need it again before it is plantable (as it was just opened last fall), but it is on its way! My left hip is letting me know now that I must have been pushing the tiller funny...and I am sure in the morning some other muscles will speak their mind as well. Such is the price for hard work in the garden.

I will get the cool weather crops in the ground tomorrow, with any luck.  My intent was to do that today, but the weatherman is calling for frost tonight, so I decided not to shock my little plants their first night in the ground.  Since I have no idea how much exposure they have had to this point, I thought it best.  By this I mean that they may very well have lived in a nice warm greenhouse until they landed on the store shelves for me to bring home.  So, tomorrow is planting day for those little guys.

After tilling, I mulched another row between strawberries, then took the tiller down to the raspberry patch and tilled around it.  Last year it was hard to mow around them after they got big, so I figured it best to break up the ground around them and mulch well to make that a little easier.

Next, I headed back up the hill to the strawberry patch.  While I was in the area, I picked the first few stalks of asparagus of the season, then began the arduous process of gently removing weeds from in between emerging strawberry plants.  That is going to take some time and diligence this season.  Being as it is that the patch was neglected for 2 seasons... there is a lot of unwanted growth well established.  I will just keep picking away at it until the beds are clear and I am picking huge, plump berries for fresh eating and jam.  After only a few feet of the first row of berry plants, I started to feel like I was burning in the sun, so I gave up on that for the day and headed out front. There, I completely cleared the flower beds in front of the house of weeds and debris.  They are all set for a fresh load of mulch and to be planted with something great.  They are really a blank canvas...so I am excited to begin planting those areas.  Some of my tropical plants that I have wintered will set out there in containers, but I am considering planting my blueberries in front of the house.  They are attractive shrubs,even when they are not in bloom, and it is just a bonus that they provide me fruit as well!

I reshaped the area in front of the porch a little, clearing the grass that had overgrown.  Using a tub to collect my yard waste was handy.  When it got full, I hauled it out to the chickens and dumped it in their yard.  They were so happy!  It was like Christmas for them.  They all hopped on the pile and started picking away at their treats....yanking out dandelions first...their favorite!

As I was cleaning up, mother nature indicated it was time for me to quit for the day as it began to rain.  I hauled the last tub out the to girls and called it a day outdoors.  In only 5 hours, I would say I got quite a bit done.

Todays lesson:  As I was weeding, I discovered that the wild oxalis (looks like a giant clover, but blossoms very differently) has a bulb-like root (instead of a mass of roots)  that divides into zillions of little bulbs...allowing it to spread easily.  It also means that those little boogers are HARD to get rid of.  If you don't get every little bulb pup, you aren't rid of those oxalis plants.  Knowing this will really change how I weed them out.  No more pulling...they have to be dug or I will never get ahead of them.

That is one of the greatest joys of gardening...learning every time.  EVERY time I get outside, I see something new or learn something.  Nature is so complex and beautiful and I simply love feeling like a part of it from time to time.

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