20 Feb 2018

ursulas_alcove: J is for jelly baby (pamper thyself)
I got the compost pile turned. It has plenty of stem-like things, brown matter. It needs some green matter now. Coffee grounds will do to start. I dumped the excess water off the straw bed. I have one straw bale growing green grass. It's not suppose to do that. The point of straw is no seeds. I removed a cover layer from all the beds today. It was hot. Hope this doesn't become a trend.

Hey, Mama Nature, you do know it’s February?

I cleaned up the pathways in the mandala garden. Coral bells got moved in front of the rhubarb. It was hard to find the rhubarb crowns. I think I found three out of five. I marked them. I wanted the coral bells in between each rhubarb but closer to the front. Looking to create a border to define this bed. Peas got planted along the wire fence and on the cucumber trellis. I was excited to find the Egyptian Onions that Charlotte gave me. It was so dry last fall when they arrived. I put them into the ground right away. Now she tells me they could have been garlic. So we'll have a surprise. I'm up for that. Finished bed in the southeast mandala has coral bells in front, then rhubarb, the onions, then a trellis with peas for now and cucumbers later in summer. That's one out of four.

The northeast bed will get planted next. Lettuce, carrots, beets, spinach, red-veined sorrel, maybe chard and kale, all under cover. Still on my to do list. First, I needed more potting soil. Plenty of maple leaves for mulch. Soil still frozen in places. The top needs a ridge pole in case of snow. Then I need to cut greenhouse plastic to cover the bed. I picked up those tonight. It's perrennials include a Hellabore, French Sorrel, and Lady's Mantle. All the rest will be annuals. Lots of ground ivy to weed.

We have had flooding. It's been very bad in a lot of places. I-376 through Pittsburgh was seriously underwater this year. The mayor took pictures from a kayak. My van slid going up the driveway. I marred the neighbor's hill with a tire track in the mud, although technically still on my property. They put out a metal garden flag piece sans flag to mark the edge. I can't see it at all. The metal is knee high. If I cross it, it will do serious damage to my van's paint. I spent an afternoon repairing the tire track. Couldn't do it sooner because we all were sick. I cut sod from my yard and stamped it down into the ooze. Then I bought grass seed and planted the rest of the area, filling in holes with coffee grounds. It wasn't as bad as the time I jackknifed the Jeep going down that hill.

Chrono dreamed we took out the driveway and had trees as a privacy screen and potted plants. It's tempting. I need to find the paperwork from the Green for Growing to get the ball rolling for soil testing. Since the terrace is pressure treated wood, I need to know if anything is leeching into the soil. The top of the terrace is in full sun. Think it's time for some clean up work, removing stems and composting them. We found the snowdrops. Not yet blooming. Coltsfoot is up. Only two flowers for the bees. Can't bring myself to pick them for medicinals when no other food is available for the pollinators.

Coltsfoot


For the next week, the weather will fluctuate between 45/31 and 68/51 with rain marking each shift in weather. Two to three days dwelling at each temperature range and then the scale tipping the other way. Plants will only need one cover if it stays this way.

Peeking under the winter cover

Getting strawberries planted in the grow tower very slowly. The bottom layer is set up and plants rooting on the front porch. These June-bearing strawberries were growing in a weird place when we moved in here 24 years ago. They were in the roses. Lately they have been living at the corner of the house under a drainpipe, having escaped a strawberry pot and running feral. It'll be easier to mow the grass now without them there. More to go, but I want to establish each layer of the tower before starting the next. Several earthworms came along for the ride, although the robins are now pissed at me. Seven robins are fighting for nesting ground this year. The grow tower has eight slots per layer with a worm compost bin tube down the center. Once it is setup, I'll take pictures. I am trying to segregate the ever-bearing strawberries from the June bearers. Hoping at some point to get a big enough yield for jam.

Hostas will need thinning once they emerge. So much to do plus get ready for Gulf Wars! Chronographia is heading to Convocation. She packs tomorrow. The car got checked out today and got a wheel alignment and tires rotated. The van goes in next week for state inspection. The new tail pipe won't be cheap. Hope that's all it needs. Fingers crossed!

Extending the growing season plus growing in more beds, I am also looking at storage for the produce. We're replacing the energy hog of a freezer with an energy star product that should save us $95 a year. Sweetening the pie, the state is shelling out a rebate for an energy star product and the power company has a program to haul away the old freezer and give us $50 for it. The Great American Presidents Day sale, yes, not really. We have been watching prices carefully. They were lowest on black Friday. We missed it. Although they wanted us to think it was a sale, the price was the same last month. They just reprinted it on special colored paper. I moved everything off the old freezer, an entire wine rack and hundreds of magnets. I will wait until the new one is here before moving everything out of the old one. Mostly I have ice blocks for Gulf Wars in there.

Got tons of pots scrubbed and bleached, ready for planting the perennial herbs seeds that are stratifying in the refrigerator. More pots washed to thin out the leeks and onions once they come up. The plan is to grow more of what we use most. They'd be carrots and onions. Lots to plan and more to do.

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