Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Last Year

I found this in on my computer in my documents - not a very effective way of keeping records.  I prefer this blog because it allows me to keep everything so organized and I can find anything I need with a click of the mouse.

Rereading this entry from last April reminded me that it was actually hot at this time last year!  Today (April 2) was freezing!

Here are my notes from last year:

April 16, 2012

Today is unusually warm for Massachusetts – 91 degrees!  We had mulch delivered on Saturday, the 14th, so Jamie has been laying it all around the garden beds up front – to start.

I have been yanking weeds.  Buckets full.  I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time, but I also feel like it’s better to yank them than to pour more chemicals in our yard.  Also, if I yank them, hopefully they won’t spread their seeds.  I read that the grass has a better chance of growing thicker when it doesn’t have to compete with the weeds. Makes sense.

We hired WEED MAN to do our lawn for us this year, but we asked them not to touch the yard on the side of the pool by Jan’s house, because that’s where a vegetable garden is going.  We don’t want any chemicals touching any veggies we’ll be eating.

We have asked Joe to mow our lawn for us.  Two calls to him so far.

I am ordering another grow light.  I resurrected one that I bought about 20 years ago and have put a bunch of seeds under it:  snapdragon (3/?), poppies (?), plum tomatoes, peppers, cosmos (4/2).  So far, everything is taking off except the peppers.  I’m a little concerned because the tiny plants seem to reach a certain height and then flop over.  I see this happen with all of them except the poppies – probably because they are still quite small.  Overcrowding is another problem.  When I go to thin the plants, I end up killing some of them because they are disturbed.  Next year I will sow the seeds more sparingly.

I started a compost pile behind my shed.  I admit, I don’t really know what I’m doing.  But you have to start somewhere!  I threw in all the grass that grew into my flower beds, all the weeds that I yanked, plus stuff from my kitchen, like old broccoli, green onion tops, orange rinds, banana peels and a little spaghetti.  Don’t know if any of this is off-limits for a compost pile, but I guess I will learn.

I planted some sweet pea seeds in a shallow terra cotta container.  I plan to make a trellis for it out of branches when the little plants emerge.

I need to get all of my tools organized so that they are easy to get to and don’t get lost in the shuffle.

I had to stop myself from ordering a half dozen books online last night.  I have so many questions, so many goals.  I need to remind myself constantly that there is no rush… I have lots of time to learn and it’s OK to make mistakes.  I need to enjoy the process, just as I have enjoyed learning the process of cooking over the years.

April 23, 2012

I’m reading a book called Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew and I am really excited because it makes gardening seem so much easier, not so overwhelming.  Already I got a great tip for starting seeds – don’t use nearly as many seeds when starting plants, and cut the extra seedlings with scissors instead of ripping out.  So smart!

I set up my new grow light and moved it into Jamie’s room.  He insists.  Poor guy – it seems so bright!  I sowed more seeds tonight – dill, parsley, zinnias and basil.  I discovered that my peppers, which are finally starting to shoot up after 21 days, are organic, so I will be able to save seeds.  The plum tomatoes are also organic.  I made little signs to put in the trays and removed the seed packets, which were getting wet.  Supposedly, the seeds will last for a few years if stored properly.  I have them in a little plastic filing case but need to find something bigger.

May 3, 2012

I planted more seeds on the 27th, April:  3 different kinds of zinnias, cucumbers and zucchini squash.  I’m beginning to realize that I should have started the seeds earlier.  The plants are all tiny – especially the snap dragons.  I guess I’m supposed to put a heating pad under the seeds.  Maybe I’ll try that next year… I don’t know.  It seems like growing seeds can get kind of expensive after a while.  Might as well just go out and buy the plants!  I’m keeping track of all of my expenses, so I’ll see whether it’s worth it or not.  Any way, it is a good thing to know how to grow things.

That 90 degree weather we had a couple of weeks ago convinced some of the shrubs to send out its blooms a little early.  A few nights ago, we must have experienced a frost, because I noticed our lilacs are almost dead, and I barely noticed they were out yet.  Some of the azaleas were also affected.  I made me sad to see all the little frost-burned lilacs and white flowers.

I mowed the lawn for the first time the other day – good thing, too, because we’ve had nothing but rain since.  I did the front; Jamie did the rest.  I want to take care of our own lawn, because I think it’ll look better if we take more of the responsibility on ourselves.  I need to start reading more and make some plans to care for this lawn.

I spent a lot of time cleaning up the flower bed by the garage.  Grass had grown through where juniper and phlox are supposed to be.  I’m going to lay some new weed cloth there.

Finally, I went to Lowes and priced boards to make my square foot gardens.  It’ll cost about $10 per garden for the wood.  I need to find someone to help me cut it, since Jamie doesn’t really have the tools, and neither of us have the know-how.

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