12 June 2010

The best way to grow an amazing crop of hay…

… is to surround part of your pasture with fencing and call it a garden. All the rest of the pasture will have grass 2 cm tall at best, but in the garden, the stuff will be knee high. Mow it down and feed it to your sheep, it’s the best stuff on the acreage.

I’ve been battling the grass in the garden for a long time now (hmm, three years I guess) and it’s still putting up a good fight. Today required the use of the gas powered weed whacker just to find some of the raised beds … yeah, things have gotten out of hand. It comes on so quick … one day it’s ankle high, the next day, it’s shot up into this miniature forest of greenery that hides thistles and assorted things that were left on the ground. The results of the mowing were delivered to the sheep and filled two (yes, two) quad wagon-loads.

At least the sheep were happy.

I had cleared several of the garden beds early this year and planted some ‘head start’ things, during that unseasonably warm spring weather we had a couple months back … but I have come to realize that while the garden plants may appreciate a head start, they absolutely cannot compete with the weeds in those chilly spring temperatures, so if you haven’t got weed-free soil (or the time and knowledge to identify and remove the weed seedlings while not removing the plant seedlings) … give your plants that head start indoors. I couldn’t even find any mullein where I’d planted it … nor the chamomile, poppies, meadowsweet and other herbs. I did find a few beets and a couple of carrots … and the onions and garlic are okay, but for everything else, I ended up just digging the beds up a second time and replanting. Next year, I will hold back from the temptation to start early (or, more likely, start more things indoors). Outside early starts just don’t work, not with this climate/garden combination, anyway. Maybe after the pasture grasses are all gone it’ll be different. You’ll have to come back and ask my grandchildren … it’ll probably take that long for the stuff to finally go away.

However, I did manage to get about half of the garden weeded and cleared of grass, two rows cleared and planted (tomatoes transplanted from inside, and a row of heritage beans, the kind for drying), and more beets, carrots, leeks and radishes put into one fully-cleared raised bed. I found some volunteer mullein plants and transplanted them to where the others were supposed to be, and put in some calendula and poppy seeds. The one small raised bed that had serious grass problems is now host to several zucchini plants: I figure if anything can outcompete the grass, it’s probably a zucchini. :)

Tomorrow – assuming I can still move – I’ll tackle the herb beds, transplant the stuff that is still inside and waiting to go out, and hopefully get the other large raised bed cleared for planting.

Of course I now have no idea where my garden plan is. I’m making it up as I go. :)

09 June 2010

Cheerful tomato plants

Been tired, wrung out and busy of late … so not writing much.

So, here is a cheerful picture of tomato plants to tide you over until I come back with something more profound:

They’ll be moving outside to the garden this weekend, if all goes well!