Saturday, April 16, 2016

Setting Up

I've had a couple of days to work on a bunch of projects around the yard, and I think I nailed it.  More or less.

I put in beets, carrots, kale and potatoes.  And weeded almost all of the garden beds.  Whew.  (Yes, it took a while.)

I also set up a potato tower.  It looks like so.

Except that now it has compost and dirt and sprouted seed potatoes in it.

Basically, you add the side boards as the plants grow, so that the potato plants stay covered with dirt and potatoes grow the way they're supposed to.

I'm testing it out to see if it works.  I also put some potato plants in one of my raised beds, to see if that will work.  I'm going to see which system works better, and take it from there.

Of course, if the tower idea is a bust, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with said tower, but I figured I'll deal with that when the time comes.  I'm reasonably optimistic I can get it right.

My only concern is, it's still pretty early in the season, so I have to keep my fingers crossed there isn't another frost.  But even if there is, I still have a box of seed potatoes sprouting, so I can regroup.

I planted tomatoes and broccoli in pots indoors.  I'm using seeds harvested from last year's batch of tomatoes--again, I don't know if that will work, but I have time to try it and see.

This year, I'm going to bypass the whole black walnut fiasco of years past (I hope) by attempting to grow tomato plants in grow bags.  I'll post photos (I'm sure) when I get them set up, assuming my tomato plants grow.

I also put in a Cleveland flowering pear tree, since I had to have a small evergreen tree removed from the yard (it had a blight and looked pretty pitiful).  So this is the new tree.

Word on the street is, these are pretty easy trees to maintain: fast-growing and prone to very few pests.  They get about 30-40 ft. tall, so they're good for small or medium-sized yards (which is what I have).

They produce very pretty white flowers in the spring and have a compact shape so that's also a plus.

Perhaps most importantly, it was on sale, so I got it for $20.  This may be telling me something--like, "you get what you pay for"--but I'm going to hope it's just one of those wonderful little bargains life throws our way every now and again.

Like the time I bought a box of "marigold mix"--one of those huge boxes of marigold seeds that you see at places like Kmart or wherever (I got mine at Benny's)--for $1.

Yes, you saw that right and no, it's not a typo.  It was mid-summer and it was on sale for $1., so I bought it, brought it home and sprinkled it in a garden bed under a tree.

I had the nicest marigolds ever.  My neighbors even complimented me on how well they looked.  And of course I told them I got them for $1.  And my neighbor said, "Best dollar you ever spent!" so that pretty much tells you how nice they were.

Needless to say, I'm beat after a day of gardening.  I'm in the midst of a large spate of grading as well, and I'm also trying to write up a fellowship application.  All of this will get done, obviously, but it's keeping me quite busy.

My current reading is a book by Korean American writer Kim Ronyoung, Clay Walls (1987).  It's been sitting in my Kindle for a while, so I started it the other night, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. 

For now, though, it's time to get back to the grading.  After some dinner.

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