Saturday, May 10, 2014

Papa, Don't Preach!

A few days ago a gentleman commented, "So you use wood chips on your garden?"

Yes, I believe, in mulch and aged manure. I've found that investing considerable effort in the fall, without tilling, when the year's gardening season is "over," reaps huge dividends in the spring, when the gardening itch reignites.

After all that work, now's the time to gloat, when many folks are grousing, "It's been too wet, can't get a tiller in the ground."

Some experts say a tiller destroys soil structure and brings unwanted weed seeds to the surface. They even suggest that abandoning the fall garden until spring is like leaving a naked baby in the back seat on a frigid day with the windows open.

"You've crossed the line," says Virginia. "Papa, don't preach. I've seen you out there, raking mulch to one side and the other, pulling your hoe through the soil, planting a spring garden, since early March."

Here are peas, carrots, lettuce, beets and kale planted March 10.
With the help of Jack, Julie and Karen, we sunk Kennebec and Pontiac potatoes on March 16. You'll see winter wheat planted last fall at the rear end of the foreground garden bed, perennial horseradish back on the left, and flowering chives, another perennial.
Look closely to see Glass Gem corn sprouts. You may want to click to enlarge the photo. Two-inch Silver Queens thrive in our pig-aerated garden in the field, but I was too lazy to run over to take pictures.
A week ago I thought our 1-degree winter had killed my pomegranate grove. Now I'm smiling.

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