Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring has sprung!

What a difference a week makes! I had a quick trip to NYC for work last week, and returned to find the earth warm, the snow gone, and my belly two sizes larger thanks to McSorley`s burgers and beer. :D

A sure fire sign of spring is that the rhubarb has finally erupted. Everything else will soon be on it`s way.

Another sign of spring is that it is nice to drink beer while working in the yard. Actually, I enjoy drinking beer in the yard any time of year, but still. Anyway, I dug into the cellar and came out with some Bog Water. Sadly, it was my last bottle. Happily, it was a big one!

Today was a quick blitz in the garden to get things going. The time between ice-out and full blown summer is about 30 seconds in Ottawa, so if you want to grow any cool weather crops you have to get them in the ground now.

I also plan to add a new garden bed to the collection this year -- I need space for all those freakin` squashes. I`ve marked out the space with bamboo poles. This is important so you can test if the lawnmower fits between it and the other obstacles in the yard. If the lawn mower doesn`t fit, then move it because you will have no end of misery otherwise.

Incidentally, a new garden bed is a great way to get rid of all the weeds and other crap that you didn`t deal with in the fall (because you were, like me, lazy). Just rake it all up into the space, and when you build the walls and add the dirt it will magically disappear! Genius! (I`ll post the building process another day -- once they deliver the 5 yards of dirt I need!)

Today I planted favas and peas, and also put in some arugula, radishes, shallots, turnips, and a bit of lettuce. I`ve posted how to do this before, but a quick review:`

Use the end of your rake handle to make `drills` for the seeds. The drills should be about two seeds deep. Put the seeds in and pull the soil over them with the back of the rake.

Remember to tamp them in with the flat side (this helps keep them from washing away in the rain, and ensures good contact with the soil). It`s also good to mark the rows with sticks before you do this so you remember you put something there.

And that`s it. You can water them in if it`s super dry, but we`re expecting rain later in the week and the soil is still pretty moist, so I didn`t bother. This is also the best time of year to get grass and other nasties out of your garden before they take over. They will still take over, but at least things will look nice for a few days.

Peas, by the way, are lovely if you look at them closely. You can tell the sweet tasting peas by their shape. Sweet ones shrivel-up as they dry -- something to do with the sugars in them. These are Dwarf Grey Sugar peas -- dented and sweet. They have nice flowers too.

I found one of those groovy fuzzy caterpillars today. I don`t know off hand what these turn into, but they sure are neat.

I was planning to do more work tomorrow, but it is supposed to be sunny. And warm. And not windy. And since I got my best mechanical friend back today, I may have to take the opportunity to stretch our legs and enjoy the glorious day. In the meantime, happy gardening to you all. Vroooooooom!

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