Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Garden Work Up Near the Tundra

I'm almost embarrassed to post these pictures of what my garden looks like since so many of you are eons ahead of what we're able to do this early in our season. It is early yet for us up here where night time temperatures are still dropping down into the 20s. Yup, we had 26 degrees very early this morning.

But on the other hand, I have had readers say they like to see how we manage to go about handling gardening in our very short growing season, so . . . if you wanna look at some bare soil, this post is for you.

Since we've gotten our fire wood supply under control, the next order of business has been getting the yard and garden ready.

We decided to take out one of our garden beds so that was first on the agenda today. Here hubby ("Smile, honey!") just finished removing the boards and had already taken a couple of wheelbarrows of the good soil away to fill in a low spot in the field garden. (Look how yellow, dry and crispy our grass looks in spots.)

Garden bed no more. All gone. Um . . . do we have any grass seed?

My two clumps of chives were in the bed we annihilated so they had to be transplanted to another bed. I think they look happy here, don't you?

This (sigh) is my herb bed. Looks deader than a door nail, doesn't it? Yeah, I think so, too. And I even covered everything with a heavy layer of mulch last winter. Drat. I have never had any luck with herbs. I think I need to do some serious studying up on the obstinate little buggers.

We got the field garden cultivated. The portion closest in the picture was already unbelievably overgrown with weeds. (You can still see a few die-hards that I'll have to hit with the small tiller a couple of more times.) So it was past time to get in with the cultivator. (Weeds do not seem to mind frigid temperatures at night.)

Oops, I just remembered I forgot to take a picture of the pumpkin patch. (Shucks, that would have been another bare patch of soil for you to see.) Since I'm cutting back on the garden this year (ahem, will someone be responsible for holding me to this?), we decided to sow the pumpkin patch in a green manure crop to enrich the soil. Today we planted it out in a mixture of barley and oats.

Not much happening yet in the raised beds. That's my one bed of salad greens under the cold frame that I planted 2-1/2 weeks ago. The radishes, arugula and spinach are coming along very nicely, but it looks to me that the five different varieties of lettuce are all slow. Which seems strange. Hmmm . . .

And lastly, a very weird happening on one section of our driveway. We are currently suffering from extreme drought conditions. So why, for the first time in fourteen years since we've been in this location, is there what looks to be an underground spring bubbling up and making a mess of this area in our driveway? We are getting heaving and holes, ridges and gooey mud that hubby's been trying to keep under control with a lot of shovel work. Tonight before dinner right before he put tools away for the night, he took the tiller out to this area and went over it which succeeded in turning up a lot of big rocks, if nothing else. Tomorrow morning? Rock picking. And then doing something to the area. I'm sure he has a plan.


Fiona said...

Yay -- another northern garden with patches of bare soil! I'm suffering from some serious zone envy with all these southern gardeners putting out transplants while I'm still waiting for my radishes, lettuce and peas to surface! I don't really blame them for staying under wraps as we even had a dusting of snow yesterday. I've got some garlic, last year's strawberries, some chives (gotta love hardy chives!) and some raspberry canes that desperately need a haircut and that's it! Your garden still looks decidedly more tidy than mine. Just so you know, I'm still waiting on that house call :) (And BTW -- I love that you called herbs obstinate little buggers. That sounds just like something I'd say!)

Erin said...

Okay, wow! I didn't realize you had a field garden too! And a nice surprise to see that chives are hardy in your area, guess my worrying about mine this year was kind of pointless, LOL. I do love to see your northern climate garden develop. I think you all fit way more work into the time you have there. We can be a bit leisurely with our prepping, preferring to wait for temps to go into the 50's so we don't get cold while working, lol! It was 26 there and you were out the next morning digging? But you grass looks lovely, I think. What I wouldn't give for some fescue instead of the rhizome spreading Bermudagrass here, it always looks weedy no matter what (not that I even like grass anyways!) Do you sell at a farmer's market or community stand or use all you grow? I am trying to fit in a pumpkin patch for the kiddos this year but getting pretty space challenged here and not sure I will be able to do enough to have good pollination.

Mama Pea said...

Hey, Fiona - Our gardening endeavors sound like they're running pretty much parallel. Good to know so we can check out each other's progress!

When we lived in Illinois, a neighbor always tried to have her peas planted by St. Patrick's Day . . . and said they always tasted much better if they got a touch of snow on them!

Hi, Erin - The frost is totally out of the ground even though our night time temps have been freezing. As soon as the sun rises in the morn, the soil warms up fast. Don't know what the temp got up to yesterday but we were working in our shirt sleeves as soon as we got our blood flowing.

You asking about what we do with all our produce gives me an idea for a blog post which may answer your question. Stay tuned. :o)

RuthieJ said...

The closest I've come to gardening so far this year is purchasing my seeds at Fleet Farm. We did have our first batch of fresh asparagus for supper the other night though! Yummy!

Erin said...

Happy Birthday pretty lady! I hope you have a great day filled with RAINdrops! Have you ever had that woodshed so full by your birthday before? Hope you get to do something relaxing today.

Mama Pea said...

Hey, Ruthie - What's the matter with you, girl? You're supposed to be far ahead of us down in your friendlier gardening climate! Am envious of your asparagus . . . I've tried planting it twice here but had no luck. But I'm pretty sure I chose a bad location so one of these springs I'm gonna give it another go. We both love, love, love aspergrass!

Hi, Erin - Thank you so much for your birthday greetings. I saw your comment before seeing Chicken Mama's post for today and was really scratching my head trying to figure out how the heck you knew it was my birthday!

The best news for my birthday . . . we had light on and off raindrops all yesterday afternoon that kept us on pins and needles, then gentle rain (actual RAIN!) in the evening. Hubby stayed up late reading and said it was really coming down about the time he came to bed. No drops this morning but it is very gray and there is thunder in the distance so we can hope, hope, hope there will be more. Yippee!

Karen Sue said...

do you sow pumpkin seeds directly into your garden or start them inside first?? I'm thinking of throwing some in peat pots this year, but not sure.

MaineCelt said...

OH NO!!! How did I miss your birthday?!?

(Well, okay, I think it had something to do with my attempt to shoehorn a church internship, census enumerator training, seed-planting, and a potluck song circle into the same 18 hours! Still, I'm sorry I missed the chance to wish you all the proper happies on the day itself!)

A very happy belated one to you!!!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Karen Sue - Ya know, I've done pumpkins both ways. Started them inside thinking they would have a head start but I think they suffer so much from transplant shock that the seeds I put directly in the garden soil seem to do just as well, if not better.

Hi, MaineCelt - Thank you so much for the birthday wishes even if they were belated. Sounds like you need to find something else to fill the hours of your days! ;o) Isn't it amazing that in the winter time we think we're busy . . . and then spring/summer hits and it's like H-E-L-P!