Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 25, 2009

Boy, today was a good day.  My brother and father were taking out the stumps of the trees he needs to remove to build 3 more 4x4 beds along a NS fenceline.  Anyway, because they were taking the stumps out, it meant no work today!  Yay, garden day...  Oh, and yes, the weather was good for it, overcast and 60.  And don't worry, I didn't forget to take pictures...

Most of the day was actually spent weeding.  Spring has sprung in my yard, and unfortunately, it seems the weeds got the lion's share of the growing in.  The main culprit seemed to be shock weed.  At least that's what my Aunt called it.  Then of course we had the standard dandilion infestation, the occasional morning glory panic attack and even removing some over-grown blue bells (I think).  Frankly, if I can't eat it, I could care less about it, but that shock weed had completey taken over the rose garden.  And in case you didn't know (I didn't), once those little stalks shoot up, they've got seeds all over them, so when you pull them, they release their seeds all over the place.  Great!  I've been pulling them and tossing them into the yard for the mower to pick them up to compost them.  Oops.  So, this time, when we were gutting the rose garden, we put everything in the municipal yard waste container.  Let Cedar Grove deal with it.  I'm not getting anything from them anytime soon.  Sure that's an awful way to think of it, but I do believe they superheat their piles with canvas and innoclants or whatever.  Maybe they can kill the weed seeds better than my measly piles.

Particularly difficult was the dandilions that grew up around the base of the roses and throughout the iris islands.  It was a painstaking process, but in the end, we got the garden looking like this...

As my Aunt said though, it will look good for a week, until the weeds grow again.  My only hope is that it isn't nearly as bad in the future.

After that, I finally got to mow the back yard lawn...

Much as it was slow going due to the length of the grass, it didn't generate nearly the grass clippings as the front did last week.  So when I composted it, I needed more material.  So what did I get to compost... the green onions gone to seed.  They sure smelled good.  I also yanked out the bolting over-wintered spinach from my beds.  However, since they had minor leaf minor damage, they went into the yard waste container.

Notice that I ddin't chop them up before I composted them.  I figure I'll see what Mother Nature does with them first.  Besides, I didn't feel like breaking out the lawn more or the chipper for some onions, hehe.  Now for some browns.  I didn't feel like using my wife's paper route left overs, but she had a better idea.  One of the less known browns for composting is dryer lint, and we seem to generate a ton of it.  Or maybe it's just that I never think to empty the garbage can in the laundry room, hehe.  So when she was gathering the kitchen compost, I had her throw a big handful of lint into the kitchen bin. 

So after aerating the existing pile (note that after two weeks it was still steaming hot in the middle of the bin (good compost!), I layered the onions, some lint and the partially completed compost.  Then I topped it off with the fresh grass clippings.  It's getting to be a really big pile all of a sudden!

I should mention that the kids were constantly asking to help.  They had no interest in playing with their toys, or on the swings, or anything a normal kid would want to do.  They wanted to help.  So aside from helping to dig in the rose garden, whenever we found a worm (we found several), we would let my kids transplant them to the blueberry bed (don't ask me why, they wanted to put them into their gardens, but the soil was solid so the worms couldn't dig in). Here's a picture of a particularly large one that my youngest was having fun relocating him.

While we were out there, we saw a half dozen bumble bees doing their things.  I kept trying to convince them to move over to my blueberry bushes and my fruit trees, but they weren't listening to me (much like my kids, hehe). You see, spring has sprung and my fruit trees are finally blooming, so they could really use some bee support.

I sure hope whatever happened to this pear tree to make it not produce last year doesn't happen again.  If there is no production this year, it's coming down.  Much as my oldest really likes pears, there are plenty other candidates for that space, all of them dwarf so they don't shad most of that section of the yard. 

Anyway, here's a close-up of my plum tree flowers, they're beautiful white ones.

Now I wanted to finally show you the peas under the cold frame, share the evidence of tomato lethergy and also my gardening at night.  I hate it when I think to talk about something when I'm posting late at night, but can't get a shot in the dark.  Oh well.

Note the gravel in the bed.  That's my youngest.  I can't seem to convince him that putting gravel in the garden beds is a bad thing.  Grrr.  Hehe.

And now the droopy tomato plants...

See EG, not everything works for me and tomatoes my first year growing them from seed, hehe.

Lastly, not sure if REM would be proud, but Ciscoe likely would, but here's what I did last night at 10:30 after watching his show on TiVo (see yesterday's post).

Oh, and if you see the clumps of espresso cakes, they're gone.  One of the chores I gave the kids when they were clamoring to help today was to break up the clumps (they had gloves on).  Besides, according to some research I was doing on coffee grounds, apparently they're good for your skin, hehe.  Don't worry, I only use them in my garden.

I truly hope you had as good a day in the garden as I did.


  1. Wow your compost pile is looking nice. I also hate weeds and have been doing some weeding here too. I haven't heard of shock weed before....

    LOL about the worms! Somehow, I've had earth worms get into my raised beds. I'm not sure if they tunnelled up and through the landscape fabric or what. Or, it could be that they were babies (even though I didn't see any) in the worm castings that I bought last year. But these are some of the biggest worms I've ever seen. And they have been busy having babies too! I have found so many baby worms in my beds this spring.

    Glad you were able to get out and work in the garden!!

  2. Your tomato plants must be related to mine. My plants get that droopy look, too....and I fuss over them and worry, but they just keep drooping! Mine are actually looking better since I watered them, I think I got a bit carried away after reading about EG's overwatering, and I underwatered. The two I have set out in the SWCs are looking beautiful, I wish I could be assured we aren't going to get another freeze, I'd get out there and plant the rest of them.


  3. I think Shock Weed's real name is Bittercress. A very persistent weed indeed. I once tasted a leaf and it was very much like watercress, but bitter. Aptly named. I think they are edible, belonging the the Cruciferae family. Here's something I found about them:

    "Hairy bittercress is edible. The leaves, young stems and flowers of hairybitter cress can be eaten as a tangy salad addition - like rocket, or cooked with other greens. They are pleasant tasting, nutty and peppery (not bitter!). "

    Didn't you say you were into edible plants? Why kill 'em if you can eat 'em?

  4. Great work Sinfonian! The flower bed clean up looks great. If you have some energy left over you can come to my place and do the same for our bird feeder flower bed in front of the shop! (well, I can ask!) We have some lawn restoration work we are doing this spring - we limed it last weekend and will be raking out the moss the lime killed off in a few days time, then we need to overseed it. I hate investing so much energy in "lawn" but it is important to my spouse... so we will do it.

    The compost pile is really coming along. I need to turn my current pile and do some more proactive additions to get it heating up properly. I think I need to buy a bale of straw this year. I ran out of straw about mid summer last year and have not tracked down a bale since then. I have much better compost piles with the addition of loose wheat straw.

    Hope you can get into the garden a little bit today too - it is supposed to be quite nice out today. :)

  5. Oh my goodness!!! MY girl constantly puts the gravel in my boxes as well. She claps for herself each time. I wonder what it is about that. Things seem to be really getting started for you!! Does gaining sun mean more boxes!?

  6. Reminds me of all the weeding I have to do in the non edible gardens, I have only raked the leaves out so far. Nice fruit trees, I hope the pear produces this year. Nothing better then pears.

  7. I don't think your tomato plants look bad at all. Crap....mine were the worst ones on the internet, and look at them now.....Maybe the pear tree will do something this year, that way, maybe you can make some pear butter or pear preserves! Woo Hoo!!! BTW, the wild blackberries are in full bloom now, they're everywhere!

  8. How funny about the gravel... mine does horse manure from my (previous) pile. I guess that's not bad, but it isn't composted yet (although it's about 2 years old). Now all of it's in my bin so she can't get at it anymore. She also helped her dad dig up dandelions last year so of course this year when I put in my annuals I had to be pretty careful to tell her not to pick "mama's flowers." OH, and yesterday when I was planting carrots, she came over and started digging next to me in the bed with her trowel. Good thing I hadn't planted that square yet... :)

  9. Where we come from those are perfectly edible onions. I steal the outside leaves while the onion is growing and use them in cooking, or I'll pull the whole thing and chop it and freeze it. The bulbs never get to be large.