Saturday, June 03, 2006

I'm tired

I hate being tired from not enough sleep. However, I love being tired from getting a lot done.

I was able to make the switch from the former to the latter. Great weather gave me a chance to spend all day outside.

I made an impromptu garden bed for the last of the peppers and tomatoes that I couldn't bring myself to toss in the compost pile. The soil is not the best, but hopefully if I baby them just a little, they'll produce. Because the spot I picked is weedy, I spread some newspaper on the ground around the plants and put some mulch on it to hold it in place. Before doing that though, I ran a soaker hose near each plant. The soaker hose comes out of my rain barrel, which the plants should screen and shade a little over the course of the summer. Symbiosis.

Since the soaker hose was pretty long, I extended it beyond my little solanaceous bed. At the far end, I (finally!) got my little "three sisters" experiment underway. I created seven small hills spaced four feet apart, arranged like this:

x x
x x x
x x

In each hill, I planted seven corn kernels, in the same pattern. I think the recursiveness appeals to my inner computer geek.

I spread newspaper around this whole area also, and put some old straw on top as a mulch. Once they get to about 6 inches, I'll put the beans and squash into the hills. The middle hill gets the squash. Actually, they're birdhouse gourds, just for fun. Maybe I'll try edible squash next year. Can anybody recommend a good one? I'm not a fan of the ones I find in the store.

I did make one mistake on this setup (besides the late start). I think the corn variety I bought initially (Golden Bantam) is too small for this use. I bought another local variety and planted a mix of the two in each hill, just so I can (hopefully) try a little of the Golden Bantam. With two varieties so close, seed saving is probably out the window.

In the long gap between the tomatoes and the corn, I'm planning a couple rows of "Mammoth" sunflowers. The one thing that gets me though is that the seed packet says to sow the seeds on the surface, because they need light to germinate. First off, I'm pretty sure I've planted sunflower seeds in the ground and they've done just fine. Second, if I sow them on top of the ground, then they are not seeds, they are bird food. If surface seeding is something specific to this variety, then that's the last I'll be seeing of them.

I bought a couple of Concord grape vines. I had hoped to build a grape arbor to shade the south-facing windows of our house (while still letting the sun in during winter), but I think that's probably going to have to wait until next year. I had every intention of waiting until I had an arbor before getting any grape vines, but priced at 2-for-1, and in good shape, setting fruit already, I just couldn't pass them up.I figure the grape vines can climb on our back yard fence in the meantime.

I also grabbed some locally grown strawberries. They are so good they make your eyes roll back in your head. In fact, I think I need to go eat some right now...

The grapevines may be my last impulse buy for a while though. We bought a new pickup truck. Well, a very old pickup truck, actually. It replaces the other very old pickup truck that just bit the dust. This one is even older (1986!) but the price was right. It's in excellent shape, considering the age. Well, except for the broken winshield wiper knob and the leaky gas tank. (It has two. The other one doesn't leak.)

I hate spending money on vehicles. Especially money we don't have. Hopefully we can recoup some of it by selling the other truck. The big old rebuilt diesel engine should be worth something by itself. We're thining of selling our little '91 Honda too. I hate parting with a vehicle that's paid for almost as much as spending money on new vehicles, but our debt is getting uncomfortable. I guess I just don't like dealing with the whole automotive realm. You're just always pouring money into them. A necessary evil, I guess.

Enough words. Hopefully tomorrow I can provide some pictures.


PS - The strawberries were good. I only wish I could share...


At 6/04/2006 10:37 PM, Blogger madcapmum said...

Well, I guess they were good! My strawberries won't be ready for another month at least.

At 6/05/2006 9:24 AM, Blogger Beo said...

Let me know how the soaker hose off the rain barrel works!

With the latitude difference we are still about 1 week away from strawberries-we've only eaten about 4 so far.


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