May day was gorgeous at here Henbogle. The sky was crystal clear, the birds were singing, the tulips were magnificent, and I was in the garden, what more could anyone ask? Although we worked hard, the day was so beautiful it hardly seemed like work. Amazingly, even the black flies were few, and what few there were apparently not very hungry.
We cut a few more of the alders that are beginning to shade the vegetable garden and used them to finish making the raised beds for the tomato bed. We managed to get the entire row completed, logs staked in place, and then the IRT plastic mulch in place. I am not crazy about the way it looks, but in my Master Gardeneing classes all the instructors swear by it. One of the class members who is a Fedco employee got Fedco to sell it to the class at a discount. I can’t resist a bargin so I decided to try it. It is definitely fiddly to lay down, especially in a not perfectly shaped bed, but we finished, including putting soaker hose underneath the plastic. Who knows, it could be a dry summer. Supposedly it can be especially beneficial with tomatoes as it warms the soil and prevents soil born disease such as early blight or septoria leaf spot from splashing up onto the tomato plants. The plan calls for tomato plants in the back against the fence where they will be trellised, with peppers in front of them. Along the edge of the bed I will seed nasturtiums and marigolds.
In other garden news, the hoop house is full of gorgeous lettuce and spinach. There is more lettuce starting in the middle of the photo; the back right corner is where my melon experiment will go, with cukes going in where the spinach is now. That area will also get IRT mulch to encourage the hot temps melon likes.
Peas are sprouting along the back row of the garden; behind the peas will be pole beans, and when the peas come out, bush beans will go in front unless we opt for a second crop of peas and find another spot for bush beans (where I don’t know!) This set up is tricky and I can already tell I need to come up with a better strategy for next year, it will be a pain to plant the beans.
The garlic munched on by our hungry hens is coming back. I suspect this will have an adverse effect on the garlic size but what can you do? As you can see, if the mesh fencing were not preventing it they’d be munching still, those pesky chickens! Apparently fresh organic arugula isn’t adequate. Hmmph.
The rest of the yard is looking good. Dan broke out the mower today, I believe this is the earliest we’ve ever had to mow, and from the sounds in the neighborhood, we are not alone. The gardens are filling in and looking good, I love this time of year, it is like old friends coming back for a visit when you see plants beginning to emerge. The shade garden has come a long way, I am really looking forward to seeing how it looks this year. The deck garden is also coming along nicely. We noticed this morning the grapevine is just breaking bud. The tulips are beginning to go by, but were wonderful this year. I have a lot of plants to divide in here, though; last summer’s rain led to exuberant growth of the bee balm and lamb’s ear. Now that it has cooled off a bit, I will be tackling that task. Maine readers, let me know if you want any divisions!