Saturday, March 19, 2016

This Week (Spring, Asparagus, Sheet-Mulching, and Apples)

Peppermint, lavender, oregano, thyme

Spring has sprung! Although I’m still suspicious that one of St. Louis’s occasional mid-April snowfalls is going to sneak up on us and wipe out all the flowers, this week I thoroughly enjoyed the sunny skies, the dusty scent of flowering trees, the cheerful daffodils, the newly-green grass and explosion of birdsong. The rain at the end of the week should mean even more spring beauty ahead.

This was a busy week for the garden. I planted peas, kale and spinach in the Square Foot Gardens, and sheet-mulched a little round bed, planting four asparagus roots around the edges and sowing California poppy seeds in the middle. I have no idea how it will turn out, but we’ll see! 

Step one: cover bed with a layer of cardboard and newspaper
Step two: add a thick layer of organic matter
Step three: realize you have no idea what you're doing, but figure that compost couldn't hurt
Step four: mulch with more leaves, because you don't have any other kind of mulch handy
Step five: realize that you really need to learn more about this whole sheet-mulching thing, so just give up, plant the asparagus (in holes in the bottom layer), chuck some garden soil on top, sprinkle with poppy seeds, and hope that something grows.

Another addition to my garden this week are some herbs: Greek oregano, thyme, and lavender. I hope to one day have an herb spiral or another kind of established bed, but since these are perennials, I’m hesitant to commit until I know exactly where I want them to go. In the meantime, they’re hanging out in pots out front (along with my dead-looking-but-hopefully-soon-to-resurrect peppermint). 

Down in the basement, we have set up a seed-sprouting station, using a florescent shop light, soilless potting mix, and some styrofoam cups that Zach dug out of the trash can in the employee break room at his Walmart (dumpster diving win!). We didn’t get light over the cabbage seedlings in time, making them very leggy, and I have little hope for them. The peppers (banana and multicolored bell) are doing much better; we sprouted them in vermiculite first, and are transplanting them to the potting mix when they gain leaves.

Our final addition to the garden were these two beauties right here! They are tiny apple trees, Fuji and Arkansas black. We’re using the intensive planting/pruning method outlined in Grow a Little Fruit Tree by Ann Ralph to try to train these trees into a manageable size for our small yard. This is them before planting. 

Digging a hole...

And planted!

Hope you guys are having a great week!


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