Monday, May 5, 2014

Early May Garden Blogging


I'm not a big fan of daffodils, but this time of year I can see why all the old ladies planted them.

Today's lunch was the year's first foraged from the yard -- curly dock, wild scallion, sunchoke, sheep sorrel and asparagus.  Sautéed in a pan it felt infused with health, but I'd resisted harvesting the morels (until Monica gets back tomorrow night) and it sorely lacked for that.  Or  maybe I should have followed my instincts and finished it with a handful of violets.

I only have a week to get most of my May gardening in, since I'll be leaving Friday and traveling for two and a half weeks.  The greens I planted a few weeks ago have sprouted - mustard, mixed greens, spinach, tat soi, and chard.  Maybe Monica will be eating them by the time I return. 

A small toad was patrolling the tat soi.  May it feast well upon the slugs.

I have a fair patch of garden with fine soil, but the best expanse of ground - where the previous owners, Vernon and Edith, had set their garden - was spoiled when we put in the drainage field for the septic system.  Only the asparagus and rhubarb were spared.  I've compensated by creating a couple of mounds on that spot in the hügelkultur model - a traditional German technique adopted by permaculturalists.  You build a heap of rotting wood (of which we have plenty!) and cover it with earth.  As the wood decays it forms a rich sponge of humus to hold water and supply nutrients.

Two hügel
The first, smaller hügel is starting to mature into a useful bed, and I'll be using it for herbs, greens, hot peppers and perhaps try a tomato plant or two on it.  

But the other more ambitious one is still pretty much a brush and log pile covered with last year's weeds.  I put compost and dirt on the very top and planted snow peas, cilantro and some chard on it to get the ball rolling.  I don't have high hopes, but I also don't have time or soil right now to cover it properly.  I planted some climbing peas at the base of it as well, and if all else fails they can clamber upon it.

Last year's soil was as dry as dust, but right now all is nice and damp.  Damp enough that the sump pump in the cellar has been running - so I've hosed it out to the garden to give the soil an extra soaking for good measure.

Tomorrow I'll stop soaking the garden, put in a row or two of yellow carola potatoes (alongside the two rows I've already planted of fingerlings and reds), and get the bed ready for the parsnips and beets.  Maybe plant some more basil somewhere.  The rest will have to wait until I get back.