Monday, June 9, 2008

Weekend Three: Grass & Straw

May 31-June 1

Saturday morning we stopped by the St. Paul Farmer's market for a couple of bedding plants for home, and then headed out to Landscape Alternatives to pick up a couple flats of native wildflowers for the garden up north. On the way we stopped to rescue a little snapping turtle that was just starting across a busy highway; as we waited for traffic to pass, the snapper was clipped by (some asshole and/or ignoramus in) a passing car and it flipped into the air, to our horror... Amazingly, it survived more or less okay. We set it down at the bottom of the ditch near a small pond and it immediately took a bite of grass, which I took as a good indication that it wasn't seriously injured, or so we hoped. A little further down the road we helped another, much larger one. Our good deeds for the day.

We got up to my folks' place late--after 2pm. I spent a couple hours prepping (i.e., pulling grass roots) in the native garden and the turtle garden, along with the few remaining beds to be seeded. A set to work mulching the tomatoes and peppers with with newspaper and straw; our hope is that it will keep the majority of the grass and weeds at bay. We'll see. At the end of the day, I'd transplanted the melons, strawberry spinach, radicchio and a few more parsley and basil seedlings. Dad got the Three Sisters planted, with three varieties of corn and an assortment of squashes, pumpkin, peas and beans, some of which we saved from last year's crop. We worked until sundown and, after another late and half-assed but perfectly satisfying supper, walked down to the pond to take in the frog chorus and see the first, lone firefly of the summer.

Sunday, another nice day. We drove up to T&P's to see how things are coming along on the new house, then got started after lunch weeding, seeding, planting and mulching. Dad planted a row full of various greens we seeded the lettuces, carrots, daikon radishes, kohlrabi and peas. Mom worked on getting the grass out of the wildflower garden and mulched a good portion of the brassicas. Another long day of work for all of us, the first hot and sunny one this year. My last task for the day was to get the native plants in the south end of the east border, which I managed to do in an hour or two while mom, dad and A sipped beers and wine in the shade of the arbor... I joined them just in time to enjoy the last of the evening sun and get about a hundred mosquito bites. Ah, the joys of summer.

Monday, I awoke early, called in to work and hurried outside at about 7:30 with a cup of yesterday's coffee to start planting seeds (fennel, cilantro, nasturtiums, nigella, bachelor's buttons, calendula, marigolds, agrostemma and cosmos) and the rest of the plants (purple shiso, lemon balm, chamomile... what else?) under a heavy sky. The rain didn't start until 10 or so, and by noon I was done planting and not soaked. A good call, not going to work today... luckily A was able to take half the day off. Everything that needed to be planted has now been planted and most of the mulching is done. It's getting there. We'll be back in two weeks.

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