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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Goodness- it's been over  a week since my last post!  Well, the reason for that is that I don't have a lot of progress to report.  I wanted to get one of the planter boxes filled with soil so that I could transplant some seedlings, and it took me four days to fill it.   This is not to say it took me thirty-two hours- but I could handle about one third of the box a day, and then one day just did not cooperate weather-wise.   But at least, now I know how long it takes to move forty-two cubic feet of soil.

Well, that's not entirely fair.  I was mixing decomposing bark from the back of the yard (remember I mentioned that where there isn't lawn, there's plastic and bark, and I aim to remove all that plastic).  This was hampered by the arborvitae roots that are all throughout the bark, and the weeds which are growing on top of it.  So I weeded and then I hoed an area and picked roots out of it, and then shoveled it into the wheelbarrow, which I then wheeled over to the old planter box that I'm moving.  I shoveled some of the soil from the old box, which is no more at this point, into the wheelbarrow, which I then wheeled over to the box I was filling.   Then I turned everything in the wheelbarrow over and over with a spading fork until it was mixed well, and then I shoveled it into the new box.  This would move about three cubic feet a load.  I was plum. worn. out. by the time I called it quits at the end of the first day.

I know it doesn't look like much now, but it will this summer.  Even though I am anxious to get some of my seedlings from the garage moved to it, it occurred to me in time before I started that I can't until I get a copper barrier up for the slugs.  Slugs are a serious nuisance here in Oregon, and the only thing I've found that works with certainty is a copper barrier.  Last year's garden had a length of copper roof flashing all around the edges of the box, and it worked like a charm- no more missing plants the next morning.  This year, I ordered 400 feet of knit copper mesh to go around the edges, and it seemed a real bargain, considering how long it should last.   It should be here the 24th of the month, and I'll transplant lettuces, onions, and kales as soon as it's installed.

The day after I filled the first box, I built another.  The next (and last) shipment of plants I'm expecting are twenty-five Jersey Knight asparagus crowns.  So now I have four out of five boxes built.

In other news, the lumber for the pergola was delivered, and I purchased the paint for it Friday.  It's still drying in the garage, and probably tomorrow, as it's supposed to rain, I'll get started on painting it. 

Then yesterday I had my first dandelion salad.  I had been weeding and ran across a good-sized dandelion that hadn't flowered yet, so I popped the thing out of the ground whole.  It took a little washing though- it was pretty dirty, but I chopped it up with a tiny bit of French tarragon and a chive, and then dressed it very simply with olive oil, wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.  It was pretty good!  I'll be more careful with dandelions going forward, and be on the look out for them next winter when they start sprouting.  They are supposed to be tenderest and best before they bloom.

And last, but not least, here is my favorite boy dog enjoying some deck time.

Happy first day of spring!


Miriam said...

Wow, you've been busy! How satisfying, though, to feel like you're finishing some important projects. I noticed you use metal rods with your raised beds - can you tell me about those? How do you manage to hammer them in by yourself? We have been using wood posts, cut to a point, and between soil full of really big rocks and my nerves about having my head and hands so close to Kim's sledgehammer as I try to keep the post steady, it's torture getting them in! If you have an easier method, I'm all ears!

Paula said...

Oh gosh, Miriam- those metal rods are two-foot long pieces of rebar, which can be had for not too much money at Home Depot in the building supply section. I use the half-inch diameter stuff for the taller beds- the flower bed, which I'm edging with the pressure-treated 2X6s left over from pulling the deck apart, is held up with the 3/8" rebar, which are a little cheaper.

I have ONE bed on which we used wooden stakes, and they (the stakes) were really hard to pound into the clay; in fact Steve had to do it.

I can handle the rebar all by myself, and I use a 3lb hammer for it. Between the rebar, and the plastic lumber for the beds (leftover decking), my planter boxes should last a really long time.

Look into the rebar- I think you'll like it a lot better!

Cottage Garden said...

Your planter boxes look the business Paula - good luck with filling the others. As I type this I'm waiting for delivery of the topsoil and compost for our raised beds. I will have to look into getting those copper bands.


Paula said...

Jeanne- the copper bands were fashioned out of a one-third width of copper roof flashing, which was kind of spendy. I just ordered 400 feet of knit copper mesh, which I thought a better bargain. I'll post how well it works once I know.