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Spring is coming into full focus now although it is the earliest bloom I have ever seen in my region.
My cool weather garden is beginning to fill in and soon I will be harvesting my long-awaited garden salads composed of violas, carrots, cilantro, red giant mustard, scallions, arugula, and much more.
When I see the vibrant yellow blooms of the forsythia completely covering the bush, I know it is time to weed and feed the small areas of lawn in my yard. I am thrilled to see that the Mason bees have returned to the houses that I put out especially for them. These are super pollinators, able to pollinate 100 times more than a honeybee and rarely sting. I’ll say that’s a win-win!
The seeds I have sown in my mini outdoor greenhouse are ready to be transplanted. I can look on the bottom of the clear recycled containers and see when the roots have filled out the soil . Always remember to add water first to lower transplant shock, then gently ease them out of the container and tease apart the roots. Plant each of the seedlings about a hand breadth’s width apart and water them in gently. Mine will go in my fabric covered bed as baby pak choy are in the brassica family and will attract the cabbage moth which can decimate a brassica crop.
Once my garden tasks are completed, I head out to do some garden shopping. I will be creating a new raised bed with the simplest and most affordable method.. I purchase 2 inch thick and 1-foot-tall lumber of untreated pine boards making sure that they are straight. Each of these boards is 12 feet long. I then purchase one 8-foot-long board which will be cut in half to create the ends. The complete size of the bed will be 4 feet by 12 feet by 1 foot tall.
I then stop in at my favorite locally owned hardware store that carries seeds, seedlings, garden supplies and more. I am searching for seed potatoes as well as a small bag of grass seed to patch some bare areas in my lawn. I also plan to grow purple potatoes, and find just the variety I am looking for, Adirondack Blue. Once I return home, I begin preparing the lumber for the new raised bed by cutting the end piece into two pieces, each 4 foot long
Next, I stain the wood using an exterior, opaque stain in a custom color so that it will both last longer and look good in the garden. Since this is untreated wood, it typically only lasts about five years before having to be replaced, but it is safer than using pressure treated wood and allows for maximum affordability and flexibility in creating a simple raised bed.
The pieces are simply set into place and held by three screws at each corner. There is no need to add any sort of anchoring since once it is filled the soil will hold the bed in place. Soil will be added in right over the existing mulch. Landscape fabric would prevent decomposers from coming up into the soil, so I never use that under my raised beds, but several layers of cardboard could be used if the bed is placed over existing grass.
My last task of the day is to weed and feed my front lawn. I use an organic product made from corn gluten every spring and have had very good results. First, I cut the grass at a level 2 setting. Normally I cut this area at a level 3 so that it can withstand summer heat. As a cool-season fescue gras,s this is important, but right now it can take a lower setting without stress and it will allow the granules of the product to better reach the soil level.
I roll over wild onions several times to make sure that its very thin leaves get thoroughly mown down.
There is no need for a spreader as it is simple and safe to cast the granules by hand. This is the beauty of an organic product as it is perfectly safe for you and for pets. This product requires it to be watered in lightly and then kept dry for about 5 days.
There are always exciting developments in the garden in every season. Spring’s energy is infectious and must be caught and channeled into ways that ground us in mind, body, & spirit. Devoting our time and energy to projects in this productive season will be sure to yield a bountiful crop in the warmer months to come!
Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy.
-Anne Morrow Lindburgh