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So Far, So Good

May 7, 2012 - Time to grow a garden once again.  Now that we've lived in the same place for eight years, the fruits of my prodigious labors are finally there for all to see.  The rains we enjoyed last year and, so far, this year, have made a huge difference.  Astonishingly, horribly infertile soil notwithstanding, there are a number of plants I'm going to STOP fertilizing, they've gotten so big.  The trees in the yard got off to a start that was best described with the word "inertia."  It took me an embarrassingly long time to understand just how really and truly awful our soil was.  That said, they have thrived since getting annual, generous doses of organic fertilizer.

I try very hard to garden organically, and I do think I get a little better at it each year.  The one battle I'm never going to win (because I live in a subdivision) is the dandelion battle.  By winning, I mean letting the lousy things just grow.  That is not, however, what my neighbors mean by winning, and they have told me so.  So I like to imagine that I'm taking the "Integrated Pest Management" approach to handling my weeds, to wit: one year I go organic, the next year I stoop to chemical poisons.  Yes, for the record, our lawn looks considerably better when I use the chemical stuff.  Not that the improvement lasts for long.  This year was an organic year, so I sprayed an Iron Oxide product on the dandelions.  The problem is, it would get mightily expensive to simply broadcast it, so I had to take separate aim at each and every pestiferous plant.  The results weren't bad, but as you can imagine, I didn't get them all.  The clover and buttercups have since burst into bloom unthwarted.

Bindweed took over the rose bed a couple of years ago, and it was with deep sorrow that I dug them up and threw them back in the woods.  I subsequently received one of the roughly jillion or so gardening catalogs I get in the mail every year, and learned that comfrey was a possible ally in my attempt to rid the rose bed of bindweed.  Apparently the roots of the comfrey plant are so big and knotty, very little can get past them.  In my excitement, I forgot that bindweed roots very shallowly.  The jury is still out as to whether the bindweed is gone for good.  I have a "Bonica" rose on order, which I can't wait to get in the ground.  Hope (if nothing else) springs eternal.

What looks particularly good this year?  Hmmm - the clematis has never looked more spectacular, ditto the iris.  Mallow plants are doing a nice job of spreading, and the trifollium (?blue flowers?) look sensational.  The lamium is flowering up a storm, and the bleeding heart is gigantic.  Ah, springtime ...

As for the veggies, the above-ground variety (lettuce, spinach, snow peas) don't seem to want to do much.  I'm wondering if the torrential rain we get nowadays is too much for them.  It does appear that something or someone likes to snack on the snowpeas.  (Note: need to plant onions around ALL the garden beds in future.)  The strawberry plants are growing to beat the band, as are the potatoes, onions, and garlic.  Just bought some tomato plants yesterday; got them planted, along with some cherry tomato seedlings, and some garden huckleberry and ground cherries, the seeds for which came as freebies along with something I'd ordered. Cucumbers and cabbage will get planted next.

It's a "so far, so good" kind of year.  Hope you can say the same.  Help make the world a more beautiful place - garden!


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