Sunday, June 9, 2013

Plugging Away-- and Getting Plugged

Just a little progress report.  All garden related, of course.

My friend brought the tomatoes he promised to give me to church this morning.  One "Italian Goliath,"
one "Red Brandywine,"
one "Brandymaster,"
and one miscellaneous cherry.  Just now they're all leggy seedlings in 8 oz. yogurt cups.  The "Red Brandywine" broke on the way home, which is too bad, since I like me a Brandywine tomato.  But maybe it can be nursed and recover.

They won't get planted for awhile, though:  Over the years the garden bed that I'm rotating the tomatoes to has gotten so mounded up with soil amendments that it's more than a foot higher at the center than at the edges.  And the beds in the round vegetable garden aren't that big.  It needs to be levelled off before anything goes into it.  Oh, yeah, and it needs weeded before that.

Which didn't happen this afternoon or evening.  What did happen is more digging and spading of dirt off the bare places in the front lawn, where the nutsedge is emerging where I dug it out before.  Not as thickly yet as before, but still there.  It's very depressing having to deal with this, such a waste of time and topsoil, too, but what can you do?

Finished cutting up sticks and shifting leaves from the part of the open compost pile I began cleaning off yesterday.
There was a little finished compost at the bottom of it, which I spread on the new planting bed in the front garden.

At least, I think it was compost.  May have just been a mounded bit of topsoil.

Whether or no, after that it was time to make a new compost pile where that bit had been.  Didn't have a lot of "green" material, unless you count the Virginia creeper I pulled off the fence.
Organic parfait
Instead I made layers of grassy sod and leftover unmulched leaves.  Yeah, I know you're not supposed to put dirt in the compost heap. But what else am I supposed to do with all those turves?

A lot of the leaves I was using for that I shook off the branches and sticks that came off the limb that fell down last year.  There weren't too many large ones left on the pile to cut up for kindling today, so I just took the leaf rake and drew the leaf residue off the old pile to use it on the new.

Where things got left, in a hurry
Or I did until some apparent residents of the old pile took exception to this disturbance. First I knew of it was when something  tried to fly up my right nostril.  I sniffed out violently and tried to bat it away, whereupon it stung me twice on my nose right above the lip, on the septum.  Ow!

Quick but careful removal of self into the house-- don't want to be precipitous and trip on the porch stairs-- all the time hoping it wasn't a honeybee, since their stingers remain in and you have to tweeze them out.  Quick, find the baking soda and make a poultice with water.  Dab it on the affected area . . .  know one looks like an idiot, but never mind.  It kept the swelling down where the creature plugged me, and within five minutes the pain was gone too.

Returned to the scene of the incident, though not to do any more raking.  Yellowjackets, it was.  There were still three or four hovering around.  Not going to mess with that pile again until I've consulted the exterminator.

So as much as I wanted to get that pile turned for the first time in three years, it was time to drop it and do something else instead.

Like plant the Berberis thunbergii "Crimson Pygmy" barberry I bought Thursday night from the Outside Lawn & Garden department at work.  I was thinking I needed a reddish specimen in front of the right-hand Alberta spruce . . . but one will do, since my neighbor to the east has four or five or these.

She was out in her front yard, too, while I was planting this.  I told her about the yellowjacket sting.  I mean, I didn't expect to go into anaphylactic shock from it, never have before, but I know some people develop that reaction when they get older.  So in case I suddenly quit breathing and keeled over . . .

I didn't.  I finished getting the red barberry into the ground and went on to transplant a few volunteer Blackeyed Susans into the little strip next to the Siberian iris at the toe of the slope to the sidewalk.

Still so much to do, but the light ran out.  It'll all get done-- eventually-- if I keep plugging away at it.  At this rate I should be able to go back to working on the inside of the house by, oh, late September or so.


Mayfair Mistress said...

I've actually that some dirt in the compost can make it "hotter," it introduces beneficial stuff to get everything to cook faster.

Jayne said...

I'm really glad you didn't keel over and quit breathing! OUCH! Maybe they were ground hornets? Someone I know (my son, maybe) has those in their yard and ground hornets are nasty little critters.