Wednesday, April 23, 2014


In this humble garden cart is the start of a wonderful garden: these are boards for the series of new raised beds that will be going into the backyard.  Once completed, it should look something like this:

 The long rectangular bed is an existing bed, which housed my squash last summer.  There will be six new 4 ft x 4 ft square beds, with a wide path down the center, perfect for my large garden cart.  The narrow paths between the bed may get widened, space permitting--I always have a hard time getting a diagram to scale, but in my head, it's going to be great.  Now, to just clear the old debris, lay down weed suppressing material, build the beds, fill the beds, and haul all the mulch to make things tidy and give the weeds a run for their money...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Moving Out

The warmer weather has me hoping to plant out my cold weather loving vegetables: kale, cabbage, onions, peas.  I've started setting my seedlings outside, to get them used to the great outdoors.  Of course, it's decided to be windy--its a little hard on them, but it also helps their stems to get stronger before they are plonked into the ground for the season.

On the porch, I've added a third mini-greenhouse (the other two are inside, serving as shelves for my lighted growing station).  Its a great place to start a few warm-weather seeds as well as give my warm-weather seedlings a place to grow.  It also frees up some much needed space under the lights indoors--my tomatoes are loving the additional room to grow!

Monday, April 21, 2014


It may just look like sticks and some wire, but this is the site of a major, bloody battle.

My black raspberries had grown wild over the last summer--arching and twining into each other, through the apple tree, into the chicken yard.  It was sheer, thorny mayhem.  Yesterday, I took my clippers and whacked them into submission, with a bit of blood-letting in the process.  Entire canes were plucked out, and the remaining were trimmed to a sensible height, next to the newest leafing bud.  The center path got re-established, with rooted canes yanked out and those that arched into the center clipped out.  My arms and legs got plenty of red scratches as the canes fought back against their treatment.  I also got a lovely pink sunburn, which made it really feel like spring has arrived.

After a serious pruning and dead-wood removal, it was time to trellis them.  Two T-posts per end and a length of heavy gauge steel wire  set the stage, and then it was a lot of twist-tie madness.
Each little cane had to be fastened onto the top and bottom wires, which will lend support as well as define where the canes should be.  Once they leaf out and start growing for the season, they'll be joined by a host of new whippy canes that will either be added to the trellis or trimmed out.  Eventually, I should see a bumper crop of tender, delicious black raspberries.  They are so delicious, it's almost worth the bloody battle!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!


Tucked in the blog archives of the Baltimore Sun was this horrifying bunny-man.  It's like a mashup of an evil clown meets a psychotic undead rabbit...

Now you know that people wearing bunny suits are my kryptonite.  Shudder, shudder.

If the weather is fair, I'll be spending part of today outside, playing gardener.  Maybe I'll take on the black raspberries--I bought myself a T-post pounder and some wire, so I don't really have any excuses not to tackle them.  Of course, I could construct the raised beds for the back garden, in prep for filling them gradually with my mountain of compost...

If the weather decides to be foul (it hasn't quite decided as I type this), I'll be inside, starting some seeds and conquering the mess that is my kitchen. 

I know.  It's not terribly Easter-esque, is it?  Trust me, though, I'll be having as much fun as a three year old on a jelly bean high finding golden eggs.

Have a very happy day, whatever you choose to do!  Oh, and stay away from creepy Easter bunnies.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Annie, Git Yer Shovel!

If only there was an Annie around, that indispensible sidekick with moxie...who knows her way around a shovel and could help move some of the very lovely, high quality composted manure I got delivered yesterday.  It is impressive just how much compost can fill the back of a 12-foot dump trailer.  And all of this loveliness will be moved from the driveway to assorted gardens, one garden cart load at a time...

As my friend Gretchen says, "Pace yourself."  That's good advice when facing the list of spring projects.  All the gardens need weeding and replenishing.  The back garden is getting a complete overhaul, with new raised beds and permanent paths. The black raspberries are going to be tamed, this time, dammit.  A hole needs to be dug for the soon-to-arrive apple tree I am going to espalier on the back fence. The front flower hillside garden needs digging up, weeding, and replanting.  I need to construct a wildflower meadow bed, two gates tough enough to keep a large dog out, and a large possibly hugelkulture-esque raised bed needs to be made for currants.  A strip of turf needs removal along the back chainlink fence, the greenhouse needs weeding and a cat-made hole in the plastic needs stoppering...there's mulching to do...I need to clean out the coops and reconstruct the nest boxes in the Big Coop...oh, and somewhere in there, I need to sleep and elevate my sore foot.

I'm not sure how much of that I'm going to get done on my long weekend, but I made a little start:
Two four-by-four raised beds weeded, refilled to the brim with compost, and several bags of cedar chip mulch spread around.  My, that stuff smells heavenly...and it looks nice, too.  Hopefully it wears well.  Anyway, that was my start for the day--after unloading a pallet of mulch bags, that is.

Happy weekending!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Morse Code

Deep in the heart of a wildberry pink guest room, a secret society of small, active yellow feathered creatures participate in a mysterious ritual.  Daily, they gather as a group to tap out obscure messages, for endless hours, communiques aimed at...who?  Ancient alien beings in another dimension? Wood lice living in the floorboards?  We may never know, but certainly, their motivations must be suspect.

What are they doing?

Why all the hammering? And peeping? Just...why?  They are soooo ridiculously noisy!  It's enough to drive you nutso.

That may, perhaps, be their entire motivation.  To  I feel like the Grinch when he bemoans the noise, oh the noise!  Tingtookas ring-tinging have nothing on these little monsters.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No Dig? No Way.

  Oh my.  Doesn't this garden look decadent?  I've been pondering how to tackle the weedy mess that became of my gardens.  Perhaps I will just top the mess with a thick layer of compost and call it good?  I dunno...seems too easy, but still, I like the idea of it.