Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spinach planted in fish box

Weather: Sunny and 50 today, down to 40 tonight, back up to 50 tomorrow, with showers. More rain and mild temperatures predicted through the weekend.

The soil in the two fish boxes seemed evenly damp, so I planted a packet of spinach in one. It will come up dense, but we can eat the thinnings. But I couldn't find my clear plastic to cover the box! Not freezing tonight, so it should be OK. I will buy plastic tomorrow, and plant the other box full of lettuce. I plan to keep the plastic on with big rubber bands I saved from something.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, so I will be stopping at the market to get more fish boxes, and I need to get a couple more bags of soil. I am tempted to use my own garden soil, but I know it is full of weed seeds that will sprout soon. Last year, I had that fiasco of growing a whole tray of carefully tended weeds, going so far as to transplant them, thinking I had planted mislabeled herb seeds of some kind. I even posted a photo on GardenWeb, and people thought it might be a cress. I even tasted it! It was a weed that soon sprouted all over my yard. I had accelerated the germination in the contaminated seed tray by fertilizing and watering the damed things. So, much as I hate spending money buying dirt, I am controlling what goes into those fish boxes, so I can plant successive crops of greens.

Still not sure where to put all the onion sets I want to get in the ground. I better save the rest of the pea seeds for late summer, and concentrate on finding room for carrots and potatoes. As the ornamentals come in, I will be able to see where I can fill holes with veggie plants. I have a dozen potato pieces chitting, and a sweet potato with two strong sprouts.

I toured around the yard looking at the ornamentals starting to poke out of the ground. One crocus is blooming in the grass, lots of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth coming up - most planted by former homeowners. I planted a few tulips and one crown imperial last fall - I see the tulips, but I am not sure what the crown imperial looks like, so I may be mistaking it for a tulip. If we were staying here, I would naturalize more early bulbs into the grass areas - I like that effect.

The red peony shoots are showing - all the peonies have gotten wider. I am going to spray them with baking soda water, since I read that is supposed to help prevent powdery mildew later. I am anxious to see of all three bushes bloom this year. The one that was accidentally dug up has been back in the ground for two years now, and I hope it blooms.

There are the tiniest beginnings of Siberian iris, larger fans on the bearded irises. The salvia are alive, but mostly still dormant - most of them heaved, as did the sedums. I have to research how to prevent that heaving. New growth in the crown of a big yarrow. The stella d'oro lilies continue to sprout. I see the beginnings of rose growth, and the fringes of larkspur germinating. Wish I had a camera with a macro lens to take photos of the the beginnings of things.

I trimmed last year's dead stems off the guaras. I think at least four of five lived. I left the foliage on to help protect them, then piled a lot of yard waste on most of them to protect them from the wind all winter. I just raked that off about two weeks ago, and I see growth in the crowns. Three along the sidewalk are alive - not sure about the one at the back fence that was uncovered. The biggest one, next to the mulberry stump, looks alive. I read complaints on GardenWeb that people had trouble bringing guaras through the winter in Zone 6 - but if this winter is an indication, I think the key may be heavily mulching or otherwise protecting them.

This week I will go to Mom's house to see how the stuff I transplanted in the fall survived. I have been in her yard, but not specifically to look for my plants. It's probably too early for many of them to be visible.

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