Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Git'Er Done!

The garden is still sitting in that disheveled in-between phase.  Most of the winter detritus is cleaned up, the algae and moss has been scrubbed off the patio, pots have plants in them, bark mulch is laid down (almost everywhere).  Things are kind of on hold though since I only built two 4x4 cat protection screens.  I'm not willing to go to that much hassle to build more just to get the other bed planted sooner.  With the few days of sunshine this week the plants that were already put in are finally starting to grow noticeably, if I hold out until they are a bit bigger and the peas are all a couple inches tall there won't be room for the cats to tear things up.  They really only like the garden beds when they are freshly turned and there are no plants in the way.  Then I can move those screens to the other bed; until i can do that it's kind of pointless to start digging in it.

I keep coming across little brown caterpillars out there, I'm not sure what they are, but I know they eat leaves, so I've been gently picking them out and sending them on a high-flying journey into the empty lot. Pretty sure they never thought they'd fly before turning into butterflies/moths.  There are also a ton of weird light brown/dirty white grubs roaming the garden, I have no idea what they are either.  Grub identification is not an easy thing; but they seem to be fairly harmless (so far) and hopefully the nematode population I introduced will keep them in check.  I saw a spotted cucumber beetle out in the lawn by the park office yesterday; THAT I squished!  Haven't seen them in the garden yet, thank goodness, but i have a feeling they'll show up as soon as the curcubits go into the ground. 

The bird feeders and the fountain are all cleaned up from their winter gunk, and filled and ready to attract birds into the garden.  In my yard I've seen everything from grosbeaks, woodpeckers, robins, swallows, sparrows, starlings, hummingbirds and dozens of other birds I haven't yet identified.  I have never yet seen bird damage on my food plants though (that may change since I plan to grow corn this year).  I love inviting the birds in with food and water, most also eat bugs and they sing these wonderful little trills that add an auditory beauty to the garden along with the little trickling noises of the fountain.  I could live without the jays squawking, and the noisy cooing of the mourning doves, but those too are nice in their own way.

In other news, I got some winter squashes started inside that will eventually be planted out in the back yard where the blackberries are.  I am constantly amazed to see the big wide squash leaves popping up out of the soil.  Who knew there was so much plant hidden away in those seeds?  Of all the little sprouts I think squash are the most impressive, everything else seems so delicate and tiny but squash are large and sturdy.  Yesterday I uncovered the whiskey barrel that I had thrown row cover over in February to keep the cats out of it, and discovered to my surprise a little volunteer sunflower hiding in there.  I'm guessing it was dropped by last year's sunflowers, and while I'm heartily impressed by it's fortitude, it will have to be moved elsewhere since the barrels are not adequate to meet the needs of a 12 foot tall Mammoth sunflower.

I'd love to share some pictures of things with this post but for that I'd have to wrestle my phone away from my son, so instead I'll save the pics for later.

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