Garden Daybook 5/16/13

This past week has been out of the ordinary – to say the least – for May. Nighttime temperatures have dropped into the 30’s. Daytime temperatures have stayed in the 40’s with rain and wind. Yuk!! The soil in the raised beds is wet again and planting is out of the question for a while longer. So – – what to do??? For a few days this week I have focused on the following to-do list:

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– Clean and organize garden shed. The shed has been closed up since late last fall. I opened the doors to find that the mice were busy this past winter! Oy! What a mess! Anyone with a shed knows how easy it is to lose space to chaos. The frenzy of fall chores is usually when my shed turns into a mish mash of “stuff”. “Stuff” meaning hastily stashed tools, cardboard collected for mulch, broken bags of lime, empty pots, half empty pots, forgotten work shirts, baskets of tools that have spilled over onto the floor, etc. ad nauseum. I close the shed doors in the fall with relief and some guilt – “Fran”, I tell myself, “Clean that shed now or you will regret it in the spring.” Well, I do regret not cleaning the shed last fall because now I have to find the time to clean it in the chaos of spring. I hesitate to even open the door for fear of what I will find. After a morning of work it feels wonderful to find finally see the floor and have my work surface cleared so I can use it. Now I can find what I need when I need it and I have a desktop I can use for my computer and books.

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– Clean the two garden benches in the back arbors and pull weeds under the arbor. Put down new mulch. I discovered that both benches are rotten and must be replaced. Darn! Greg built both benches about 13 years ago from old barn wood. I guess I should be happy they lasted this long! We replaced one with an antique baby crib – it just fits! Look carefully and you can see the baby crib – at least you can see the seat. The crib is painted black so it is hard to see without a cushion. When I find a cushion for it I will have a cozy spot to get out of the afternoon sun. By the way, this arbor is covered with American Wisteria or Wisteria frutescens. This particular Wisteria is a North American native and blooms at a young age – unlike Japanese Wisteria, which often takes years and years to bloom. My vine bloomed the first year it was planted and has bloomed every year since. I will post a picture when it blooms. It is gorgeous!

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– Organize stack of clay pots by table and chairs in vegetable garden. I put heavy cardboard under the pots to control the weeds. This was one of those small jobs that took very little time but gave me a good feeling when I was done. Plus, now I have room for more pots!

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– Rake the chicken yard and haul debris to back compost pile. We finished at 9:15 p.m. – – in the dark. I went out to take a few evening pictures in the vegetable garden and heard a sad chicken sound from outside the coop. The chickens had been shut up for the night but one of the hens was still outside clucking to her sad little self. I opened the door for her and got her safely inside for the night when I noticed how messy the chicken run was. So – I grabbed a rake and started to gather all the winter debris together. I was still raking when Greg came looking for me. He pushed in a wheelbarrow and shoveled up my piles. We managed to finish cleaning the yard just as dark settled in. This was one of those chores I unexpectantly come across, started “just because” and ended up finishing in spite of the time of night. All I wanted to do that evening was take a few pictures and then – – Boom! – – the chicken yard called. FYI the roosters will soon be gone. They are running the hens ragged and bring constant chaos to the coop. AND they begin crowing about 4 a.m. Looks like I’ll be canning a batch of chicken broth soon.

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Spring clean chicken coop – shovel out old bedding, scrape the floor and scrape and wire brush the perches, put down new hay. That is such a simple sounding sentence but have you ever scraped a coop floor (actually two floors!) and perches after a long Ohio winter? Chickens cover everything in heavy dust and poop! I scraped and swept all morning and Greg shoveled everything out the ramp door into a wheelbarrow. He hauled it all to the compost pile which means that we will have great compost this fall. Cleaning the coop is a particularly nasty job but knowing that the hens have clean quarters is worth it. They spent the rest of the afternoon contentedly scratching in the fresh straw. The first picture is of the back room. The second picture is of the front room. I am sooo glad that chore is DONE!

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Still to do this week – Plant:
Two big pots of Peruvian Daffodils – Herb Garden – – Done
Fig tree – Into half wine barrel – original fig died over the winter.
Broccoli and cabbages – vegetable garden
Pecan tree – Where???
Perennial Fuchsia – into pot in vegetable garden
Lemon Verbena – herb garden
2 French Tarragon – herb garden
2 Borage – herb garden
Chervil – herb garden
2 Flat Parsley – vegetable garden
Mountain Mint from pot into vegetable garden edge
Take pot of Bloodroot over to Mary Ann for her herb garden
Organize plants for Thursdays plant swap at Farm and Home Hardware, 120 South Main, Wellington.

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Even with longer daylight hours spring days are always too short. The to-do lists go on and on even if our energy level don’t. Just keep moving Fran!

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin


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