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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gardening Activities for a Rainy Day

The last two days were glorious and sunny, and I hucked soil 'til I thought my arms would come out of their sockets. Steve was pretty tired too, but that's because he can pick up twice what I can, so he did- every wheelbarrow load.  Consequently, what took me all day to do (which was fill a box), we got done in a couple of hours, so the boxes are full, and I also have a flower bed against the western fence.  To date, I only have the two roses in the bed, but I'm planning a whole host of bee fodder plants like melissa, lavender, borage, bee balm (monarda) and the like.  I also want to plant some flowers that I just have always liked, like peonies, and some cutting flowers.  Maybe a lilac. Mostly, it's for the bees though. I have to get it planted and going, before I can think about getting bees, which is why I've decided not to do them until next year when I know there will be a lot more for them to eat, both in terms of quantity, more importantly in terms of variety.  There is the idea out there that one of the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder is mono-cropping.  Experts think that bees need a variety of food sources for optimum health, and it actually makes a lot of sense.  So I want to have a lot of different flowers that they prefer.

Today was not so pretty. In fact, it rained most of the day.  So what does an avid gardener do on a cold and rainy spring day?  This is what she does- she labels plant markers! For those of you interested, I bought the copper markers as opposed to anything else because they are the most permanent, and I wanted to label all those lovely trees and soft fruits that I put in the ground.  The best price seemed to be on eBay, but if I had to do it all over again, I'd bite the bullet and get 100 markers, and I'd probably get them somewhere else- 50 wasn't enough and eBay had the best deal for getting only 50.  If you decide to go the copper marker route, let me clue you in on a few things I had to learn the hard way.  Use a fine ball point, not a medium, and press hard over a magazine or catalog; don't do it on a hard surface.  This will give the best impression into the copper.  I fear that the plant markers I wrote first may have to be done over at some point, and I'm not sure how that will turn out.  At least I know what to do now.

For the vegetable beds, it occurred to me that if I'm using permanent markers, I needed to come up with something other than labeling them with the plant name or variety.  I decided that I should label them in sections like A1, A2 (pictured) A3, B1, B2, etc., and keep a record of what's in the section elsewhere, like in a notebook.  That way I don't have to worry about succession planting or rotating crops.  The first four beds were labeled with six sections each; the fifth will be the asparagus bed.

The various trees and plants got their own labels- this is one of the blueberry specimen labels. This is also one of the last markers I labeled, when I finally got the hang of what I was doing.  It looks a lot better than the first one.

Now that I have all the complete boxes full, all I need is the weather to cooperate.  Normally, it doesn't rain really hard here in Oregon like it does in Florida.  You can still get plenty soaked, but it's a softer rain.  Except when there's a thunderstorm, and then it rains pretty darn hard.  Today's forecast was for thunderstorms in the afternoon, so I didn't want to risk brand new seedlings in a torrential downpour.  Tomorrow may be a better day- it's supposed to just be a chance of showers in the morning, and showers in the afternoon, so if it's decent tomorrow- hooray! I'm finally planting!

Cold weather stuff, though- I don't want to lose peppers and tomatoes.  I'll probably start some seeds directly in the boxes tomorrow as well- the blended soil I have in them is pretty nice stuff, and turnips and carrots like to be direct sowed anyway. Yay! It's spring planting time!


Toni aka irishlas said...

Your beds look fabulous! And, I can relate to hauling dirt by hand with arm sockets that didn't seem to function well for days afterwards.
I'm looking forward to see what you will plant - it will be interesting to see what different things we grow being on opposite ends of the coasts!
BTW- if you were my neighbor, I would gladly let you use the tractor to do all that dirt moving :-)

Miriam said...

It's all looking so great! I can't believe what neat printing you have on your copper labels. I think I have talked Kim into getting something similar, but we may have to ship them to you to do for us, because neither of us has such nice looking handwriting...

Di said...

Hello Paula, I saw your comment at Rob's French Garden and wanted to stop by and say hello to another Oregonian. Saturday was so beautiful here in the valley and my husband and I both 'hurt' our old bodies trying to get as much done as possible. This morning with the wind and rain, I'll be doing more inside. Hope you have a great week and looking forward to reading more. Diana

Paula said...

Welcome aboard Di!