Every day, I worked on the first bed a little bit in the evenings. Yesterday, I finally got it done. First I built the wall from cinder blocks, I had sitting in the garden. After the wall was in place, I filled the bed with compost, soil, and topped it off with some mulch. I dug big holes for the tomato plants. But before I planted them, I dropped more compost, corn meal, Epsom salt, expanded shale, and worm casting in the holes. Then I picked off the bottom three tomato branches and sat the tomatoes deep in the bed. That way, the plants can produce more roots, which can get more water and nutrition from the soil. Next to the tomatoes, I planted some marigolds to keep the Tomato Hornworm under control. Last year, I had one eating half of my tomato plant in one night. They are pretty looking caterpillars. But they are evil little boogers. The bottom cinder blocks, I filled in with old mulch. I wanted to save on the soil. Usually herbs don’t need deep soil to grow well. Now, we also have lavender, strawberries, orange mint, basil, lemon thyme, parsley, and dill. The parsley and the dill will be for swallowtail caterpillars in Summer. I’m glad, I’ve got this bed done before the rain storm came in.
Sara came home from school and walked straight into the backyard, where she found me working in the greenhouse. “Oh Mom, look! Dandelions!!!” After she put her backpack in her room, she came back to pick the dandelions and blow their seeds off the stems. But before Sara did that, she made a wish with each flower. I just enjoy the moments, when she still has so much fun with these flowers. Life is still so easy and innocent, right now.
Our peach tree looks so pretty, when the first blossoms open in Spring. I never can get enough of these beautiful little pinkish flowers. In February, I’ve pruned the tree a little bit. But I still might have left too many twigs on the tree. Eventually, I’ll figure it out, how much is okay and what is too much. Last year, we had lots of peaches. But they were small. I’ve figured, not pruning it, would cause bearing small fruits. Now, I’ve gotten quite a bit of bloom on the tree, again. Let’s see, how the fruits will turn out. If they are still too small, I need to seek some advise from the local nursery. Since we’ve also had very hot days in the month of July, the tree might need more water last Summer. But I’d rather ask an expert, before I “drown” the tree.
Finally, Kevin and I started my new project. Last week, I purchased the materials. And this afternoon, we’ve put the wooden frame together. But first I had to unlock and separate the greenhouse from its metal frame, before we could place the wood in the same spot. Kevin had some leftover wood blocks, we could use for securing the corners of the base. After the wooden base was done, we could screw the metal frame on the wood and reinstall the greenhouse. The greenhouse is so light, we just picked it up as a whole and moved it around as needed. Kevin and I decided not to put shelves in the greenhouse. We will have raised beds, like we had the first year.
Katelynn helped leveling the ground for the wooden frame. And she cleaning the soil out of the bottom of metal frame. She really enjoyed helping us with the project. Joshua came from the garage into the backyard, He played garden inspector and made sure, we are all doing our jobs well. Best way to keep an eye on all of us, is the view from the tree … or he just got bored and decided to chase the Brown-headed Cowbirds out of the Bradford Pear tree, before they would have pooped on us eventually.
Luis wants to remind y’all, that tonight begins Daylight Saving Time in the US. He’s excited, because we all can enjoy longer day light in the evenings.
After a few cool days below freezing point, the warmth of Spring is coming back, tomorrow. For the next couple of days, I have plans to get the greenhouse back in shape. Kevin and I talked about getting a wooden frame under the greenhouse. It would be a little bit higher. And due to the ground constantly shifting, the new frame makes the greenhouse frame sturdier, again. The ground needs new mulch and we need some shelves for some potted plants. It will be some work, but it is worth it. Having fun in the Spring Sun.
Since we built so many houses, businesses, sport centers etc., wildlife tries to find a place to feed, populate, and hide from predators, in the last ten years. All animals roam in the neighborhood, because they lost their original territory to human developments. Therefore, we get also visited by rodents like mice and rats. After hearing some commotions in the attic and in the center wall again, Kevin put the trap out last night. He made sure, there was a marshmallow with plenty of peanut butter as a attraction for whatever is roaming around inside the house. This morning, Kevin checked the trap. And sure enough, Ratatouille sat in there with all the peanut butter gone. Marshmallow is obviously not on his menu. It is still untouched. Kevin couldn’t take care of the rat to release it in a nearby field, this morning. So, the rat has to wait in “Rodent Jail”, until this evening. I felt sorry for Ratatouille being trapped in the cold. So, I put the trap on the greenhouse floor, gave him some extra peanut butter, so he can stay warm. Even when he’s a rodent, which can carry tons of diseases, he’s still a living creature. That’s why we’ve got a “Catch-and-Release” trap. Ratatouille slept for most of the day. Now, we just have to wait for Daddy to come home and release him. Let Mother Nature take care of him.
Yesterday, I found a new Winter annual on our lawn, I’ve never noticed before. Next to the Persian Speedwell, we have some patches of Corn Speedwell growing in our backyard. After I did some research, I found out that Corn Speedwell is not only a cute little plant. It can be used as an herb for anti inflammatory, tonic, expectorant and diaphoretic treatment. In ointments it can be used to treat skin inflamations, wounds and eczema.
This afternoon, I spent some time in the greenhouse. I wanted to plan my Spring garden. But I watched birds instead. The wind was cool. And the greenhouse protected me from the cool gusts. Today, two Carolina Chickadees came for some sunflower seeds. I’ve noticed, when they took the seeds, they tried to store them in the Bradford Pear trees for a snack, later. One chickadee tried to hide a seed in the bark, while the other one hid its seed between the flower buds. In the meantime, a Yellow-rumped Warbler got attracted by the calls of the chickadees. The warbler checked out the yard from the fence, sang a song, and flew away again. It was just enough time to capture a couple of photos of this pretty little bird.