new veg garden fence, phase one

Holy crap, where has April gone? I feel like the past month has zoomed by. My to-do lists are all overflowing and I feel like I have so much to do even though I’m super busy all the time. Blogging has fallen by the wayside. Hopefully I can make it a priority again, since I miss it. I just don’t have enough hours to do all the things I want to do.

Speaking of hours, I spent almost all of them today out in the veg garden. First I weeded the horrendously overgrown raised beds, in anticipation of emptying them of soil and re-arranging them (you can see a tarp with a bunch of soil on it on the left side of the veg garden). That took awhile since they were so full of weeds. This mild winter didn’t do the usual killing off, and March’s crazy warm temps gave the weeds a real boost.

You may remember that I was making plans to finally replace the ugly snow fence with a real long-term more attractive fence. Today I sweet-talked my awesome husband into helping me install it. We’re still only partway through this process, so pretend the ugly snow fence is all gone already.

new veg garden fence, phase one

Note: poor Cone Of Shame Dog! He has a scratched cornea so he is coned until tomorrow at the earliest.

The fence goes from the side of the garage to the other side of the yard, and the panel that juts out is the gate, which swings in to provide access to the veg garden. K helped me lay out all the panels, dig out the grass in a channel so we could make sure the fence is level, and install everything.

new veg garden fence, phase one

This fence will be a perfect place for me to grow sun-loving climbers! It is also going to be much better at deterring jumping dogs than the former ugly fence, which they could leap over without even thinking. And it’s much more attractive and sturdy. Side bonus: I will never again trip on the snow fence and almost fall while carrying the kitchen compost container out to the compost pile behind the garage.

new veg garden fence, phase one

As you can see, the final panel (on the far right in the photo below) is at a slight angle. Our yard doesn’t happen to be exactly evenly divisible by the width of these fence panels. Big deal! I have no issue with that panel being at an angle. Eventually the expanse along the side PVC fence will be a perennial garden (come on, weather, and stop frosting/freezing at night! I’ve got ants in the pants to transplant things) so the angled panel will hardly be noticeable. I still need to smother the grass on the inside of the expanded part of the veg garden, and cut back the grass on the yard side so I can plant climbers and some kind of border so that K doesn’t have to mow right up to the fence and the grass doesn’t creep back in. And, obviously, remove the last few posts and snow fence in the veg garden. After I get the perennial garden along the side fence established, that snow fence will also be able to go.

new veg garden fence, phase one

We’re still going back and forth about having the grass in the back yard redone. The yard is lumpy (installing this fence was a lesson in just how lumpy it is – some parts of the fence are even with the level of the ground, and others are way below it) and a hodge podge of a ton of different kinds of grass, crabgrass, and clover. Ideally I’d like to have it all be white dutch clover, since it doesn’t burn when dogs pee on it and is good for pollinators. I’m not sure we can find a commercial place that will do that for us, though, and I’m really not convinced that I’m up for pulling up the sod, leveling the yard, and seeding myself, though. We’ll see.

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TOOC

Totally Out Of Control, as in the way my gardens look right now. I have been majorly slacking on weeding due to being away, taking care of Coraline, and the heat/humidity we’ve had recently.

horribly overgrown garden - needs mega weeding

Holy overgrown, Batman! I need to make some serious time for weeding before I can’t get in there anymore. Upside: it’s really green!

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lettuce garden

Last weekend we had some awesomely warm weather (85! in April! in Michigan!) and I transplanted the lettuce seedlings into one of the raised beds.

lettuce in the raised bed

It’s so exciting! My first indoor-started seedlings are out in the garden. Hooray!

lettuce in the raised bed

And here they are a week later. It is visibly clear that they’ve been growing already, especially the Red Velvet Lettuce (there are also Iceberg Lettuce and Rocky Top Lettuce Mix seedlings here).

lettuces in raised bed

You can see on the end here that there’s one Bloomsdale Long-Standing Spinach seedling as well. It looked big enough to go out, so I thought I’d try it. So far so good.

The raised beds are looking ready for more stuff to be planted in them. If only it would be a combination of decently warm and decently not-windy, I could get out there and do more planting. (We’re paying for that summer-like day.)

IMG_0018

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com-pletely awesome-post

There was a compost pile behind the garage when we moved in, and then we added on to it so I could have two sections for easier turning (and more space). I’ve been really bad about turning it this winter, though. We had so much snow for so long that I sort of gave up on it, and let it be, except for adding kitchen scraps as I had them. I added some leaves from my clean-up earlier this spring, and some shredded paper (since I was adding so much kitchen scraps and I thought it needed some balance). I’ve been wanting to turn it but it was really full and I needed K’s help since I couldn’t get enough leverage to really turn it up. Today I dragged him out there and we got it going! And there was a ton of AWESOME compost at the bottom of both bins. YES! I really know why gardeners call it “black gold” now. It’s rich and dark and smells SO good. There’s quite a bit of medium-ly composted material which I moved around and will now let sit for awhile.

turned the compost and pulled out some of the good stuff

You can see in the pic above that the make-shift way we put the second bin together is not really awesome, but it’s still working. The wood that forms the two sides is cedar, and it’s not decomposing at all (like the pallet bin is – that’s the one that was there when we moved in).

I moved a bunch of good compost onto the two raised beds. I got a fair amount of not-yet-broken-down eggshells in there, and a few stray bits of paper and leaves and whatnot, but I’m not worrying about that. I should’ve taken a before pic to show you the contrast between the comparatively grey soil and this rich compost. It’s a huge difference.

put down some compost on top of the raised beds

I may put down a thin layer of soil over the top of this, but I’m not sure whether it’s necessary. I’d like to transplant some of the lettuce seedlings I have out into one of these beds pretty soon, so we’ll see what I make time for.

put down some compost on top of the raised beds

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Veg Rest

Not really anything happening in the veg garden at the moment.

raised beds in the veg garden

There are plenty of weeds for me to clean up in the straw mulch (slacked at the end of last season) and some random bits of lettuce and stuff in the beds themselves that will end up covered in a new layer of compost.

back fence in the veg garden

I planted this Hyssop from seed years ago and it has really done nicely. Right now it doesn’t look like a whole lot.

Hyssop

But if you look closely you can see that it’s not all dead!

Hyssop

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let’s go swimming, let’s go swimming

That’s what these two eensy-beensy bugs were doing this afternoon in one of the Ivory Peach Bellflower blooms in the front garden:

Ivory Peach Bellflower

They looked like miniature ladybugs – maybe just a very tiny species? We have had several thunderstorms today, and this was between the first and second. These Bellflower plants are really looking great! I had no idea they’d turn out to be quite so tall, but I really dig the look:

Ivory Peach Bellflower

Ivory Peach Bellflower

I’ve also got yet another pair of plants that I know I planted, but can’t remember what they are:

Unidentified plant

And a close-up:

Unidentified plant

It looks vaguely herb-esque, but I’m not sure.

Back in the veg garden, the Golden Sweet Snow Peas are blossoming:

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

I know I’ve had the lilac/purple blossoms before, but I don’t remember them being such a bright pink. I guess I got a slightly different variety this time? Regardless, they’re stunning.

I’ve also got Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli:

Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli

And some Iceberg Lettuce:

Iceberg Lettuce

And Bloomsdale Long-standing Spinach:

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach

And here you can see Willow hanging out by the Rocky Top Lettuce Mix:

21/52: Willow in the veg garden

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix

Susan and her hub were visiting on their way out of MI last night so we made dinner (!). Mostly K grilled stuff but we also made a delicious salad from some of this lettuce, some fresh mozzarella from the Canton Farmers Market, and a delicious homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette S’s hub whipped up.

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix salad

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix salad

(These photos are obviously pre-dressing and accoutrements, but they’re pretty.)

More pics on Flickr.

Bonus points to those who recognize the song quoted in the title.

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rainy Spring! Saturday

We had such warm temperatures this past week that most of the snow melted, and it’s been raining lightly but steadily all morning, so I think any remaining snow has disappeared. I don’t even mind the rain, because my crocuses are coming up!

lots of crocus (crocii?) coming up

crocus coming up

crocus coming up

I planted quite a few mixed crocus and snow crocus in the front garden last year and it appears that they will bloom soon.

Some of the other front garden plants seem to have survived the winter, including the blue sea holly:

blue sea holly

the periwinkle vinca:

periwinkle vinca

and the Snow-in-Summer:

Snow in Summer

Things in the back yard are looking pretty good, too. The asparagus isn’t growing yet but still looks pretty:

asparagus

The hyssop is green at the center:

hyssop is getting green at the heart

and the garlic is sprouting:

garlic sprouting

Hooray for Spring!

More pics on Flickr.

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