Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Daily Red

My Daily Red

Pictured above is the wine I'm sipping at this very moment. It's my homemade concord wine from last year, and we're taking a break from digging and planting, and in general just playing in the dirt. OK, yes I know, it's not dirt, it's "soil", but "playing in the soil" just doesn't have the same ring to it. You know what I mean.

I am the world's worst record keeper. Really I am. I generally start off in the spring by keeping a journal of what I'm doing in the garden, what I've planted and where, but after a few weeks of that I just give it up and figure my memory will not fail me in the years to come, and I'll just remember. Trouble is, my memory has already failed me and I seem to forget every year that I can't remember this stuff. I've got a yard and garden full of mystery plants. I dutifully put the little labels beside each plant, tree, shrub, etc., but they seem to disappear pretty quickly, especially when they get run over by the lawn mower. I keep thinking I'll get those little metal plant labels, indestructible as they are, but I keep forgetting....

So here's what I accomplished yesterday in the gardens at Cairnwood Cottage. I've got a pathetic little wisteria of some sort that I planted years ago in front of our house. I had to move it about 4 years ago when Dean began construction on our kitchen addition because it was right where the front steps would be. So I moved it to the north side of my garden. Then yesterday I decided I was going to expand my asparagus bed, and my poor little wisteria once again had to be ripped from the earth and moved, this time to my Woodland Garden. I hope it's happy there because it sure put up a fight when I was trying to dig it out of my future asparagus patch.

Jersey Knight....or Jersey Giant?

Then, I planted 19 "Viking KB3" asparagus crowns beside the existing and nicely productive 10 asparagus of some variety that I'm not sure of...I think it's Jersey something, Knight or Giant, I'm not sure which. But I know it's one of those two...can you tell by looking at it?! The asparagus bed will be separated and enclosed by some wood I got from Freecycle, making it a raised bed of sorts.

For those of you who have never planted asparagus...it's not a job for the faint of heart! You need to dig a trench about a foot deep, dump in about three inches of compost and place the crowns on that, spreading out the little octopus-like roots, then back fill. I cheated a little and simply dug holes; I didn't have the time nor energy required to dig a big enough trench for 19 crowns. And why only 19 crowns you ask? They came in packs of six, so I should have had 18 crowns, but one pack had a scrawny extra little thing in it. I planted it in hopes it would grow and thrive.

Today I planted a row of Thomas Laxton peas. We have a fenced dog yard, and one side of the fence gets lots of sun, especially in the early hours of the day. Thomas Laxton peas need some sort of trellis to climb up, so I figured I'd put the fence to good use and let the peas climb up that. Actually, last year I'd planted a few beans and peas along there, but I didn't prepare the soil properly since I was one-armed at the time (rotator cuff surgery). This time I hope I've done a better job at site preparation. I amended the soil with some compost, composted cow manure, and just a hint of wood ash. I actually moistened the peas on Thursday or Friday of last week thinking I'd plant them the next day. Well, that didn't happen. We'd been getting rain. Then I had other things I needed to plant. These were seeds I'd saved from a 2005 crop, so I wasn't sure what their germination would be like. Lots of them sprouted, so I should get a decent crop. A few snowflakes fell while I planted the peas today...it was a mere 40 degrees at the time. The recent warm spell has me thinking 40 degrees is bleeping cold!

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