Sunday, May 27, 2012

A garden grows, but you have to work for it

Up until May 17, if was below freezing every morning. After that it has been above 0C every day. Last frost? We don't know. But it is obvious that we had to do something about the garden. There was still snow on the ground when we went out last Monday.
This is a remnant from the huge berm made by snow coming off the roof. Anyway, we took spading fork in hand and went out to the garden.
The rows have to be spaded. Then some natural compost has to be added, and finally manure. It is not the spading that is difficult. It is extracting all dandelions! And they have very long roots, so I wind up bending over a lot, or crawling. Either way it is quite tiring! Above I am pulling one of the pesky varmints. Like vampires, they are hard to kill. They can, however, be eaten -- as long as you don't wait too long. Good in salads.
It is a good feeling, having a row done, but one is tired at the end of the day.

We will skip pictures of soil-building. We add "black dirt," my name for a pile of forest-floor organic matter where a bulldozer went. Likewise the add-manure step. I'm sure you can visualize it. Now on to the payoff. It is Memorial day weekend. This is the traditional planting date in Alaska. I'd like to start sooner, but this was out of the question with a severe winter. So I had some help, thank heavens. My daughter and her friend came up and helped. We did all the transplants.
There are a few more plants on my windowsill. They are a bit too young to be allowed to go out and play with the older boys and girls. But note the plastic cloches over anything that is liable to be lost to frost. I make these out of fruit juice containers by cutting off tops and bottoms. You could use glass jugs but it is much easier to make plastic ones. I can never have enough cloches.

It rained last night, saving me the trouble of watering. It rained all of today, too; no work possible. I have some seeding to do and the greenhouse. But the garden got off to a good start.

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