One of my poor grapevines shows signs of sadness. The leaves are an unhealthy green with some brown areas. These are the same two year old vines that got whapped by the -20° temperatures last winter and only managed to resprout from their bases.
It’s green material season. Finally. The first batch of grass clippings, much needed. The compost pile that I started in the winter with shredded leaves and coffee grounds wasn’t heating up as much as I like, so half of the clippings went into it, and the other half went into a new pile of more shredded leaves, coffee grounds and clippings.
After the frost took out quite a few of my onion seedlings, I replenished the rows and mulched with shredded leaves like I should have done in the first place. The mulch can’t be very thick because the seedlings are small, but shredded leaves last a while and do a good job of keeping down weeds and keeping moisture in, even with just a couple of inches. And I think a mulch might have given a little more frost protection too.
I’m also sprouting a new batch of corn seeds. This time I won’t take any chances with iffy germination.
Pre-sprouting is why all the snow pea seeds that I planted are popping through. You know they’re good seeds when you can see the roots growing before you plant them.
Finally the day I’ve been waiting for. Actual, real, dirty-fingers gardening. The snow pea seeds that I pre-sprouted indoors popped. It’s a couple of weeks later than I would have liked for planting them, and how that happened I have no idea. Spend a whole winter dreaming of spring, and then…it just works out that way.
The beauty of pre-sprouting is that the plants will peek through the soil in 3 or 4 days, rather than the couple of weeks (or never) when they’re directly sown. Every seed should sprout too.
At any rate I got around 100 snow pea seeds planted on the opposite side of the cucumber trellis. Hopefully by the time the peas are done, the cukes will be climbing the opposite side and using the extra nitrogen fixed into the soil by the pea roots.
Yesterday was also worm castings harvest day again, just in time to add to a stash for the spring garden transplants. It’s a slow, dirty job, but cathartic. I haven’t found a better way. The process involves making small mounds of castings and shining a bright light on them, causing the worms to dig down away from the light, then scraping away the top layers, and repeating.
I harvest half the bin at a time, leaving the other half intact so the worms can migrate to the new bedding as they feel the spirit. The harvest yielded 11 pounds of vermicastings.
It was also a good day for up-potting the main crop tomato seedlings. Only one hybrid this year, and five varieties from saved seed. This is so much fun I can hardly stand it. I love the concept of perfecting a strain of homegrown seed from the cream of the crop, specifically suited to grow great in my specific garden. Whether it actually works out that way is just fluff. It’s the thought that counts, right?
And finally, I caught the peeps sneaking onto the outside ramp. Adventurous little buggers.
I don’t take this wonderful weather for granted for one minute. The compost isn’t a brick, the pipes are running, and there’s not much white to be seen except chick poop. I love every second.
A good day to correct a couple of shortcomings in the chicken coop. The heated waterer that I made has four poultry nipples; two horizontal and two vertical. Unfortunately I installed the verticals first, before I was warned that they can be leaky. They were. So I removed them and inserted bolts.
The holes still dripped a little, even though I wrapped thread tape around them first. So plan B, hot glue inside and outside around the bolts. Right up there with duct tape in the fix-it world. No leaks yet. The chicks were bedazzled.
Then it was time to use up some of the composted horse manure. I don’t have any problem giving more than my share of whatever I have to my beautiful wife. Except compost. That’s tough. But I was a good boy.
And finally I began the process of pre-sprouting some snow pea seeds. I love this method (putting the seeds between wet layers of paper towels) with larger seeds, especially peas, beans and corn. You know that your seeds are going to poke through the the ground when you plant them.