Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Finishing the Frames!

Saturday, the whole family got up early to clean up a local park in preparation for Earth Day. I'm spearheading our community's first celebration and this was our first event. I was so proud of how hard Jeffrey worked--and how patient River was with hanging out in the Moby as I crashed through bushes and briars. Anyway, after a quick nap, we got back to work on the garden in order to finish up before the storms of the approaching cold front reached us.

River really wanted to be out in the yard (she's already an outside kind of gal), but I needed to help Jeffrey haul off some pine straw and brush from the yard. So...looks like we're having a bumper crop of toddlers this year!

I told Will it might be a good idea to leave one of the frames empty so I could get some gardening done outside of naptime!

One of the areas Jeffrey and I cleared up was what I am optimistically calling my "transplant bed." Basically, it's a triangle of dirt where I stuck a bunch of rosemary and lavendar that had layered and formed roots. To my surprise, a lot of the rosemary looks like this:

(In case you can't tell, it's green with some new growth.)

Unfortunately, a good bit of the lavender looks like this:

(In case you can't tell,'s sticks.)

I'm hoping that come spring, the lavender will surprise me and green up.

In any case, by mid-afternoon Sunday, we had this:

Woohoo! Alright! Break it down! I can't wait to fill up all these beauties. I'm actually surprised that the garden "feels" bigger when it's laid out like this. Maybe this is the gardening equivalent of the lists and timers it takes for me to keep my home straight!

I have run into one problem so far with the beds: settling. I knew my nice fluffy topsoil/water saver compost mix would settle a bit and I thought I had prepared for it by mounding the dirt an inch or two above the container's rim before I planted it with my herbs. Not enough. When I went to check on it after the thunderstorms on Sunday, I found that it had settled at least five inches, bringing the level of the dirt down three inches below the rim of the frame. Like this:

Bummer. I'll probably have to add more soil to this bed, although I think I'll wait til it warms up a bit before traumatizing the poor babies again.

In a perfect world, I would have been able to wait a few weeks before planting, but I needed to get the herbs in ASAP as the garden was being reworked. I'm hoping to get a load of topsoil today before the rain and storms tomorrow and Friday. (Hi. The spring rains are super early this year and it makes me freaked out about the rest of the spring and storms to come. Argh.) This will give it some time to get settled--I need to get my greens and peas and broccoli in the ground.

Speaking of putting things in the ground, here's a bit of garden oddity that I don't know what to do with.

This year, we got a Carolina Sapphire for a Christmas tree. It's a type of cypress and it is just beautiful: blue-green and fragrant. Anyway, I make our wreaths from the cuttings of our tree and we had to lop more off than usual this year. I stuck the cuttings in a bucket of water and used a bunch of them, but the rest stayed in the bucket. With the flurry of the holidays and bowl season and back to school, I sort of forgot about the cuttings until the reworking, when I realized that the cuttings were still green and supple. Huh. I lifted one out and was surprised to find little bumps on it that might actually be the beginnings of roots. Now I'm stuck. I don't want to disrupt these guys if they are trying to become trees. BUT-it's getting close to mosquito season around here and I don't need buckets of water sitting around my yard. Should I dip them in rooting compound and stick them in the transplant bed? Toss them on the compost pile? Leave them in the bucket a little longer? Decisions, decisions...advice needed, please!

Yesterday was the first day it was warm and dry enough for us to work outside again, and it was still a bit too blustery. Will pulled up the stump of an ornamental plum and planted a magnolia in its stead. (His combo birthday/Valentine's Day present.) We also let the kids wander in the yard a bit.

Wouldn't it be nice if all of us could receive and give help on the Walk of Life with such joy?


Anonymous said...

The joy on River's face says it all. She is like a little garden sprite. Can't wait to see what you grow.

Not Hannah said...

Isn't she PRECIOUS?? I mean, I know I should be all modest about her adorableness, but look at that face. I call her my elfling.