Busy Weekend in the Urban Garden

Oh, the bumbling gardener’s adventure never ends…

Last weekend was a busy one in the garden. I spent about 5 hours weeding my 3 plots, pretty much all on my hands and knees with a tiny weeding tool. Thank heavens for the foam knee pad is all I can say. Well, that and the gardening gloves.

And then there were all the other must-do’s to keep on top of the jungle-in-progress. Funny, it didn’t really feel like work, though. I know, I know, I’m still a newbie at this gardening thing and I’m sure the bloom wears off. There was a lot to do, but all of it provides a tangible outcome, a noticeable difference, that is rather rewarding.

Netting No. 3For example, I set up the third and final netting in “Plot C”. That was the last spot to get a row of peas and beans planted, so I had some breathing room, but the snow peas were now starting to topple so it was time. For the first two, I used limbs trimmed from the hazelnut tree in the yard, but I’d run out of branches long enough so I picked up some 6′ bamboo at the local hardware store and bought some more netting. Ahh, looks good.

I transplanted the bell peppers. When I originally planted the seedlings from the nursery, I thought they’d grow taller than the broccoli so I planted them behind. Oops. The broccoli shot up leaving the bell peppers in the shade, but the poor things need sunlight to thrive. I had to transplant the three of them to new various spots closer to the front of the garden. Yup, that looks good too.

The far end of Plot C slopes and tends to have water pooling after a rain or good soaking. Not good. I dug up the two bean plants that actually sprouted (I thought these things were easy to grow?), added some manure and topsoil to build it up, dug out some large stones while I was at it, then re-planted the beans. Job well done and clearly an improvement.

<b>Look closely to see the tomato support thingeys</b>

Tomato Support Thingeys

The tomatoes hadn’t been closely inspected in a while. They (a) needed to be supported, and (b) have the “sucker” sprouts trimmed. I’m not sure that’s the technical term, but those are the little branches that sprout up between the main branches. A successful gardener once told me they suck out all the energy that should be going to grow and ripen fruit, so it’s best to nip those off. For support, I used the four round, wire tomato support thingeys someone so kindly left by the dumpster last winter with the price tags still on, which I rescued and stored for future use. Check one more project off the list.

The herbs needed some attention, too. The parsley hasn’t come up for reasons unknown, so I added some topsoil and reseeded in the same place. I hope that works. I moved the basil bits closer together in a designated corner at the front of Plot B — good thing I know what that looks like now, from watching it grow on my balcony, or it might have been “weeded”. And, I finally got around to filling a small pot with a touch of manure and good soil, and planting the chives whose seed packet has been sitting on my microwave for what may have been months.

<b>Kale, Lightly Mulched</b>

Kale, Lightly Mulched

It felt like it was about time to turn the compost bin contents, as well. I soaked some of the straw, broke it apart from its flattened bale form, and tossed it in. Then I grabbed the rake and twisted everything around. Well, it was more like kneading, actually. Pull from the bottom in one corner to the top of the one opposite. I’d added some shredded paper a few weeks ago, as well as all the various cuttings, veggie tops and tips, and usual roughage, so it was easy to tell when it was good and blended. (I didn’t touch the cuttings compost bin, as this is the Scientists’ domain.)

And last but not least, I topped up the straw quotient in my mulching efforts. The weeds didn’t seem to be terribly deterred by my first, light mulching efforts, so I stepped it up and added a whole lot more, including around the edges of the garden where the weeds are encroaching. I’d have kept going if the rain hadn’t started.

All in all, a very productive weekend. I wonder what I’ll find to do next weekend…