Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cold and wet...

I'm in Zone 5. This means about Mother's Day is a good day to start planting annuals. However, it seems the stores are beginning to put out their stocks now. Which is a great way for them to sell 2x as many plants - after the first set gets killed by frost and freezing temps...

It's been wet, and cold, and wet - so I've not gotten my peas planted yet - though got a good bit of the perennial weeds out of the garden. I need to till this year. I've tried no till - amazing the inspiration not having a working rototiller provides - and well, the soil has too much clay to humor my attempts. My asparagus are not visible. And I'm thinking of trying to see if I can get edible plums out of the neglected old trees. The lemon balm, tarragon, and oregano are going gangbusters - and the leeks look sad - they need to be replanted, deeper. I've got a couple strawberry plants, but the survivors of winter, are a bit haphazardly placed.

On the other hand, my old weed/compost pile is now just dirt. :) I've taken 2 old pallets and braced them together to start a more formal pile - starting with the leaves from the flower beds. We've got another pallet or two in the shed - so I'm hoping to add a third at least to contain the pile. There is a large volume of leaves on the beds - especially when it is fluffy from being raked and hand picked out of my perennial beds.

I've dosed the irises that have been cleared of debris with Bayer Merit grub stuff. I hate chemicals - but hate iris borers more. Though I've got lots of ladybug larva on my brugs. I herded the ladybugs in the house to the porch where my plants are - and they loved the aphids on the brugs - I stopped doing anything but crushing or spraying the aphids with water - and now there are so many ladybug larva - which do look a bit more fierce than the adult bugs -that I am reluctant to do anything to disturb them. Beneficial insects are a great thing for the garden - and I'm hoping that soon, I can get enough of them to stay in my irises that I wouldn't need to worry about iris borers again.

That's the downside of "garden hygiene" the old leaves and junk provides shelter for the good bugs as well as disease and bad bugs. Hopefully, making a real compost pile and removing the leaves in spring rather than fall - will help my good bug totals - like it seemed to last year.

:) I did plant 3 seed flats - but need to start a 4th with my tomatoes. :)

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