May 9, 2011

(Fruit and) Veggie Tales ‘11: The Planting

We went from this a few weeks ago:

bare veggie garden

To this last weekend:

wall of waters
...with the help of 1) one strapping husband willing to do some tilling for his wife and 2) some rockin’ new weed fabric that decomposes and can be tilled into the soil at the end of the season.  (Not so much for weeds – mostly for turds.)

After the dirt was tilled and smoothed, I put the wall of waters up for about a week.  I always thought the wall of waters were just to keep the plants warm, but I recently found out tomatoes like their roots to be about 55-60 degrees at a minimum, so planting them in cooler soil doesn’t do them any favors.  So getting the little-green-teepees set up a little early is a good thing. Smile

Finally, this weekend, I planted my six awesome $1.69 tomato plants.  I intentionally chose much smaller plants than last years’, which stuck up out of the wall of waters and ended up getting partially frozen in a May snowstorm.  I also made sure to give each plant a couple fertilizer stakes this time around to avoid the catastrophe carnage of last year’s under-fertilized crop.  Hey.  Live and learn, right?

Varieties I planted are Early Girl, Celebrity, Better Boy, and “Large Red Cherry”. (3 of those, to get more of that cherry tomato salsa!)  So far, the plants are very happy in their little greenhouses.

Left to go into the vegetable garden are cucumber seeds, zucchini seeds, and yellow squash seeds, but these can’t be planted until later in May.

An unexpected addition to my kitchen garden this year is a clump of six ever-bearing strawberry plants!  Here’s a very informative shot of …..where they’re planted!

(Don’t mind the hose….we’ll get to that.)

Strawberries - maybe?
My father-in-law got the veggie bug this spring and ended up with a few too many strawberries, so I adopted the extras.  I’ve never grown strawberries in the ground before, so I didn’t even realize they are perennials!!!  (When you plant in pots in Zone 4, everything is an annual!)  Next year, once Bubba the Rhubarb is in his third season, we’ll even have fresh rhubarb to combine with our strawberries.  Yummmmmmmm!  (Until then, Bubba is left to his own devices.)

The raised veggie bed is no place for a perennial, so the strawberries were planted off the side of the deck.  Near the grouping are two other new perennials I picked up at a sale at Home Depot last weekend.  One is a red and white columbine (in the corner), and the other is an unidentified purple salvia. Love how I managed to grab the only plant without a tag...

New mulch!
I have one more plant that will go in this bed in a couple of weeks and then I’ll consider it “planted out”!  (YAY!)  Caveat:  I consider the deck bed to be in 4 separate chunks….so it’s really only this particular section which will be planted out.

What?  We can’t all be Yard Crashers and plant an entire yard out in a day Smile (It’s expensive!)

 Oh yeah….

How do you like dat mulch??  No wait.  That’s not a question.  Let me rephrase.

How do you like dat mulch!!!!

Suddenly the area around our deck doesn’t look like a construction zone!!!!  YAY!  The black plastic weed fabric I put down last spring has been completely removed.  (Mulch will blow away if it has weed barrier under it.)

Shredded cedar mulch
Can you see where I got tuckered out with the edger and gave up just to the far side of the stepping stones…)
or "Monkey hair" mulchMore mulchMulch - new angle

Here are some “before” shots to show you how *great* that plastic looked (yeah, it was my idea.) 

Pre-mulch days

Hey, I hear the Moody Blues are writing a new song after seeing pictures of my backyard.  It’s going to be called “Barf on Black Plastic.”

(Actually, it’s grass clippings Smile)

Weed fabric is ugly

Yeah.  Gorg.  (Ugh, Not!)

So… about that hose.

Scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler

What is it, do you ask?  Why, it’s my very own personal Yard-Sentry!

It’s that motion-activated sprinkler I’ve been yammering about as a final attempt to keep the neighbors’ cats from leaving their calling cards in our grass and flower beds….and someday I might even luck out with a video of it in action, similar to the day I lucked out with this shot of the culprits.

If I do manage to get a video…I’ll be sure to share. Winking smile

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay tuned for a giveaway sometime very soon!

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