Today I finally got to the work of finishing the last of the weeding (in the veggie garden) and putting beautiful little plants into the ground. The weasels and I went to Summer Winds (which will always be Woolworths in my mind) and picked up some old favorites and new surprises. I started with their organic planting mix. Every year, I add 3-4 bags to the garden to fertilize the plants and attempt to try to win over the clay soil. Over the years I’ve lived here, I’ve tried EVERYTHING to amend it, but it simply refuses to budge, so I’m hoping that, at some point, I will have finally replaced all the clay with softer stuff.
When I am a grownup it is my solemn promise to 1) be more consistent with adding compost and 2) learn to amend clay without simply replacing it.
However, today is not that day, so I did my best to make sure the plants had a good bed to grow in at least, and the weasels did their best to find lots of worms for the new planting boxes. The plants I put in the ground today were:
2 Super Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes (organic)
1 Brandywine Tomato (organic)
1 Thai Hot Pepper
1 Ashley Cucumber
6 Camarosa Strawberries (organic and in a new rectangular box)
6 Blue Lake Beans
Oregano, chives and chamomile (in a new box)
It’s late in the year already, so I didn’t find any sugar snap peas (around here they want to go in in mid-March.) Fingers crossed I’ll find some tomorrow – I’m afraid they might all be gone, and I’ll need to try them from (gasp!) seed.
Summer Winds had some beautiful painted tomato cages. They come in lots of colors, but purple was my favorite by far:
They’re thicker than the usual cages, and I’m hoping the slightly more expensive investment ($10, vs $4 or $5 for the regular galvanized steel ones) will give us cages that last longer than a year.
(Apparently life on the side of the road isn’t for the faint of heart.)
It’s always hard to admire the garden right after planting. True, the weeds are (mostly) down to a low roar, but the plants are all so small and a bit shocked from the move, so it looks a bit like it got a bad haircut. It’ll grow out, I know, but still…
As soon as I put one of the cages into its pot, this little ladybug decided this was HER tomato plant, and she stayed put through all the noise of weeding, moving, planting, tamping, sweeping and radio listening. (Of course, it’s possible she simply enjoys NPR, too.) She was a bit shy when it came time to take her picture, but sat still long enough for a decent shot.
I had the privilege of talking with a couple of folks who walked/jogged by and stopped to admire my work. (Or perhaps to offer to administer CPR, as I was breathing rather heavily with all the bending over and trying to yank out weeds with my digger.) Much of the time, I’m working by myself in the garden, so it’s wonderful to hear from people who enjoy it. After one conversation with a neighbor who loves native plants, it occurred to me that I should add scientific names to my list of plants, especially for the ones that are native to California (like “carmel creeper” which is also known as Ceanothus griseus and is an easy, beautiful shrub to use in our area.) I’ll add that to the list after planting the rest of the plants tomorrow (including a snapdragon who’s seen better days that Weasel #2 fell in love with,) and weeding the rest of the garden, and planning another bulb garden, and the rosemary for the slope, and…
Springtime – a beautiful time of year to enjoy, assuming you survive all the to-do lists.