Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring To Do List

Well, it’s a partial list – and, a moving target. Every day brings new tasks – but no extra hours in which to accomplish them! Add to that basic equation the fact the Olympics have been more than a little distracting (my various relatives, who are Olympics mad, are dragging me off to watch hockey – which is cool – and ice skating – which is cool – and para skiing – which is cool – and the torch run in Whistler where both my daughter and my brother will be carrying the flame – which is cool) and you just know I’m not going to get to the end of the list any time soon. This is why spring comes every year – to give me another chance to get everything ready and planted and organized for the coming exuberant growth of summer.

Finish Deer Fence Around Vegetable Garden
 – this is actually an essential item as it’s a bit pointless to plant anything at the moment as the deer stroll right in and gorge themselves. Good-bye leafy greens! Farewell onion tops! Fortunately, they don’t seem to like parsnips. Of those, we still have quite a few.

Move Existing Raised Beds
We were a bit haphazard in terms of bed placement last year. Jane had the very good idea of using some old bookcases for planting boxes, but in our haste to get things growing we didn't really make a plan, per se, but rather filled the book cases as quickly as possible without a whole lot of thought as to mowing between them or allowing enough room to get a wheelbarrow through the gate, around the pear tree, and past the last box. Anyway, we’re trying to decide on the best configuration for the garden as a whole and can re-use said book cases for another season or two. They will, however, need to be moved – in part to make wider paths between the beds so we can weed and mow a little more easily and also to make the best use of space when we build some new raised beds.

Build New Raised Beds
The existing beds will accommodate a fair bit, but we need more space. We want to double the amount of room given over to potatoes, for example (they were such a hit last year, we need more! And, we’d like to experiment with a couple of other varieties.) The planting wish lists are long and lovely, but we don’t have nearly enough square dirt footage. Yet. We may need to bring the lovely hot yoga Peter back to do a bit more heavy lifting.

Cut Back Flowering Crabapple
A great cross-pollinator, the crab apple blossoms early and feeds the pollinating insects while we wait for the rest of the fruit trees to bloom. The tree is a thousand years old, however (well, not quite, but it’s big and sprawling) and overhangs the beds at the back of the veggie garden plot. By cleaning out the lower branches, we’ll open up that area of the garden. We’ll also expose the terrible old bit of fencing back there. Somewhere under the tree my river kayak lies sleeping. I’m thinking I might dig that out and sell it as I can’t imagine having time to kayak any time soon. Not with so many horses to ride, goats to train (and shear…clip… comb… whatever Kashmir goat hair harvesting is called…), books to write, trips to take… Anyone wanna  buy a used kayak? Have a two-wheeled horse cart you’d like to trade? Seriously, I’m looking for one for Con Brio.

Replace Terrible Old Bit of Fencing
In the area behind the summer house, we’re thinking of putting up a small storage shed for lawnmowers, bicycles, garden tools, etc. This is a great spot for a storage shed as the space (surrounded by big trees) is unusable for much else.

Clean Out Area Behind Summer House
No small task. We haven’t hacked our way through the overgrowth for the nearly fourteen years we’ve lived in the house. Getting in and out of the area requires…

Build New Gate Into Area Behind Summer House
Make that two new gates. One from the top and one from the vegetable garden, down at the bottom end.

Build Dog-Proof Fence Behind Area Behind Summer House
Sigh. You see how this list-making goes? Once we get into the area behind the summer house and get it all cleaned out and start using it, we need to make sure the dogs can’t escape into the wild blue yonder. This item has actually been on the list since we moved into the house in 1996.

Set Up Drip Irrigation System for Vegetable Garden
This is all about water conservation and efficient use of our time in the garden. Setting it up will be a bit of a chore, but in the end should save us time and money (and water!). Loving relatives (thanks, Richmonders!) gave me a gift certificate to Home Depot for Christmas. HD has everything we need to set up our drip irrigation system. Very much looking forward to a very practical shopping excursion sometime soon…

I think I’ll continue the list in another post. Just thinking about the vegetable garden is making me weary! And I didn’t even get to the part about filling the raised beds with good compost and soil, making a succession planting plan, starting seeds, cleaning out the greenhouse, pruning the treehouse apple tree, building a new gate leading into the garden, building trellis, deciding on the best way to build the garden paths,  etc., etc., etc.  

VEGETABLE GARDEN is just one item on the master farm list – Oh boy. Must place head back in sand before I start to panic. I meant to take a few photos to post of the various projects in progress, but somehow the To Do list was full!

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