"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Chores

A small break in the weather these last few days has allowed me to get a few chores done.

I bought a grapevine off Craigslist and planted it on the north side of the greenhouse. The sun come in from the south even in high summer, so the vine won't block much light, but it will eventually provide an area of filtered sun inside the greenhouse, which some plants will enjoy. Also the grape will benefit from the warmed air inside the greenhouse. Plenty of folks do grow grapes up here - just down the road, in fact, there is a small commercial grape nursery that develops and tests different varieties for this climate. But even so, I can't see my place as being particularly hospitable to grapevines. Our "microclimate" is colder and more exposed than most others around here (see last post). This particular grape is a local eating variety called "Lynden Blue." Even if I don't get many ripe grapes, I'd be happy with the leaves. I love grapeleaves and if I had better access to them I'd use them more.

I also did some turning of the ever-expanding compost pile and took four giant carts full over to one of the unused garden "beds" (really they are just frames set out on the ground). I'm going to try "mulch gardening," which means I lay a thick covering of half-composted hay and poop from the barn on the area, which will prevent weeds from growing. Leave it for another month or so until I have starts ready to set out. Then I just rake back a clear spot and dig a hole for the plant. I got this idea out of a book (vegetable gardening 101, I think) and like most ideas that I get out of books, I assume it won't work in practice as well as it does on the page. I'm willing to try it, though, because it uses a lot less muscle power to prepare beds and theoretically less time weeding, which is a job I hate more than I hate cleaning the bathroom. Well, as much as.

I also planted some cucumber and canteloupe seeds in the greenhouse, and have moved my pepper starts out there from the house, though I still bring them in at night. All in all, spring is proceeding apace.


WeekendFarmer said...

so sorry to hear about the bee hives : ( That sucks! I know what you mean by wind...We have the same problem sometime. I am considering planting some more trees on the West...that could be a wind barrier to the land...Not sure what grows well in yoru area..I was thinking Leyland Cypress for our land. Happy Spring : )!