Friday, April 8, 2011

It's alive!

The yard, that is. Almost all the snow has melted (except a few chilly spots) and I've been noticing green things poking their winter-weary heads up above ground. Actually, it looks like they've been doing that for awhile; it's more that they're finally getting up above the layers of mucky, compacted, dead leaves from last year.

I've spotted garlic (ALL of it came up!), peonies, tulips, columbine, wild violets, irises, phlox, rhubarb, and sedum so far. There is more to uncover. I also took a tour around our berry bushes (currant, blueberries, lingonberries, etc). Some of them made it and are starting to bud out. Others haven't started to bud and I'm hoping they'll show some signs of life soon. Still others are quite obviously dead. Bummer. I know of two or three gonners for sure right now. I'm not sure if the cranberries made it, or how long we'll have to wait to know for sure. The strawberries look fine and I'm sure they've started growing somewhere under their protective covering of straw and leaves.

I've been dreaming of the projects for this year for months now. Actually, trying not to dream too much because it would drive me crazy. Having just reached the 60 degree mark this week and a possible 70 tomorrow - all bets are off. I will be outside all day tomorrow and I'm thrilled!

So, here's a beginning list of things I hope to work on this spring & summer:

- build a retaining wall on the south side front lawn. (Dirt has been drooling out under the fence for years and now there are something like two raspberries, a rose, and a tree sapling growing on the sidewalk in the pool of dirt that has collected. This needs to stop.)

- dig up one of the laundry line poles from the north side of the yard and move it to the south side. And then use it. For hanging laundry.

- move our back fence all the way back to the alley as far as it will go and expand the chicken run.

- finish constructing the terrace.

- dig up the boulevard strip in front of our house, build a short raised bed, and plant stuff.

- I have visions of helping a bunch of people on our block also dig up their boulevard grass and plant flowers, etc.

- Plant something in the one garden bed Jeremy is leaving me, after he takes over most of the yard for mushrooms. I think we'll have room for a tomato plant and some lettuce or something.

- I want to plant a cucumber on our south fence so that it grows up the fence and then we have to use little slings to support the growing cucumbers (maybe not necessary if they aren't that heavy.)

- After seeing the pumpkin in this post, I kind of want to grow a giant pumpkin. I'm not sure where to do it though...

- I want to take out the ratty old dogwood in front of the house (it's in bad shape from bad pruning) and put in a fruit tree or two and espalier them. Did I even say that right? I have a lot to learn about this subject.

- and of course keep working 30 hours a week and sewing like a mad-woman to keep up with Farmers Market on Saturdays and various craft fairs and art shows!

We did recently make two decisions that will hopefully make things slightly less crazy. One, we're not going to get new chicks this year. It just seemed like too much work on top of already too much work. And our current girls are laying fine still, so we'll give them another year.
And two, we're not going to go crazy on starting plants from seed in the basement under the grow lights. In fact, we just lent out all those grow lights the other day to another farmer, so we can't change our minds! We're going to try a combo of buying seedlings and direct-seeding in the ground when it gets warm enough. I've heard that this method verses starting indoors weeks in advance doesn't make much of a difference. So we'll test it out!

I'm glad we've finally caught up with the rest of you (who have reportedly been enjoying spring for weeks, if not months!).


Jane said...

It's is amazing once it warms up, our to-do list gets so long. And I think people worry to much about fussing with their seedlings. My Father had a degree in Agriculture and he never started seeds. He direct seeded and we always had a huge bounty. In nature a bird poops out the seed and it grows just fine :)

Julie said...

While I am starting my seedlings indoors this year (I figure why not try it), I think direct seeding is fine with cool crops, I've done it for the last 3 yrs. I did however purchase seedlings of warm weather crops since in MN our season is so short. My list is long to....we plan to basically triple the size of our garden by digging up most of our front lawn.

Dwelf the senior raincoat said...

I also have found starting too many of my own seedlings not a good use of time. I start a few tomatoes to get some real early ones. Everything else is purchase seedlings or plant direct.
Although this year with La Nina summer will not arrive until September. Wahhh!

Stephanie said...

oooh, I am jealous of your garlic, and still feeling anxious about mine, I just planted it for the first time last fall. Soon after planting there were lots of squirrel-dug holes evidenced in the mulch covering. Do squirrels like garlic??? I hoped that they were just burying additional stuff, not digging up mine... A few sprigs of garlic have popped up so far, but not all of it by far!!! *crossed fingers*

--I too keep spying around my yard for a chance to espalier some fruit. I squint at our old arborvitae hedge.... hmmmm, looking a little scraggly I dare say...

--LOL to the giant pumpkin link! Well they ARE fun!! Maybe they could shade some mushrooms??? :-D

Jeremy McAdams said...

I just can't get myself to blog or comment on blogs or read blogs lately! It's that in-between time of waiting for spring and moping about spring not being here.

But anyway...

@Jane - hysterical! Yes, I'm always amazed at what people think they have to do to get things growing - but, hello! Nature can handle things just fine herself!

@Julie - yay to digging up the front yard! We've got too much flower and decorative stuff (though not much grass) in the front. But I am digging up the rest of the grass in the boulevard this summer. It will be so nice to not worry about mowing that!

@Dwelf - I thought summer in Seattle didn't normally arrive till September anyway? ;-)

@Stephanie - I wouldn't trust squirrels. They love digging things up, even if they discover they don't like what they find. They apparently don't like tomatoes, but they'll keep pulling them off the vine, just in case. After all the layers of mulch, I put chicken wire down, right across the top of the patch of garlic. The squirrels didn't dig of course, and now that the garlic is well and truly up I took off the wire. I'd recommend that next year.
Hmm, maybe we could shade some mushrooms with those giant pumpkin leaves. =)

Aimee said...

oops! Didn't realize Jeremy was logged in. That was really me that said all that... =)