We were involved otherwise this morning so I didn't get my laundry started until after lunch. Since we had had sunshine ALL MORNING, I got a little crazy and hung the clothes out on the line for the first time this year.
Gotta say it was dang cold on my hands handling the wet things (our high temp didn't even reach 45° today), but it did feel good to be hanging the wash outside again. (Never did dry, but that's beside the point.)
I told Papa Pea I wanted to get the strawberry bed uncovered today and he said he'd help me. Whadda guy. He dropped what he was doing in the garage and came to help. 'Twas much appreciated!
Because we were short on straw, I had covered the berries this past fall with evergreen boughs from a couple of downed trees. I don't like using boughs as much as a nice straw mulch but have done it a couple of times before and it works well to keep the plants protected over winter.
I did a preliminary cleaning of the strawberry patch once the boughs were all carted away. Now I'll let the rows dry out for a couple of days (hope rain holds off) and then get in there and take out any sprouting weeds and get wood shavings spread as a summer time mulch.
I uncovered and cleaned up the rhubarb plant. Last year, I took my first cutting of rhubarb on May 11th. It's gonna be a lot later this year!
I spaded up the raised bed in which I want to put my started seedlings of lettuce, chard, spinach and arugula. (I did need to take off that heavy jacket in short order!)
Then with hubby's help I put a cold frame top on the bed. I'll leave it that way with the cover closed for a couple of days to warm up the soil before I set out the transplants. (Doesn't it look kinda like a real bed? With a mattress on top? No? Huh. Must just be me.)
Above is a picture of one of the worst garden mistakes I've ever made. Pictured are the last three sunflower stalk stumps of all the ones I removed today. My garden glove in the foreground was to try to show the size of the stump. The other glove at the top of the picture is by one I'd already dug out.
Last year I planted two rows of Mammoth Sunflowers because they were touted as producing the best seeds to feed to your wild birds. Well, they grew to mammoth size, no doubt about that. But the heads never matured (our short growing season, you know), so no seeds did we get. We had to cut down the thick stalks with a hatchet (we should have used a chainsaw) but could not get the stumps that were left at about ground level out of the ground. We tried digging but the soil was too compacted last fall and that just didn't work. Papa Pea used the hatchet to try hacking the stumps to pieces. That proved futile, too. We considered dynamite but vetoed that idea. He thought if we left them until this spring, they just might decompose a little. Today I noticed no decomposition but I could get a shovel into the damp soil and managed to dig all the remaining stumps out. Uff! A real job, but I'm so glad to have those things out of the garden!
I can't tell you how good it felt to be out actually doing some productive work in the garden today. I can hardly wait for another day to play out there again tomorrow. If it doesn't rain. Shhhhh . . .
in defense of battered kitchen utensils
3 hours ago