My first task of the weekend was taking a look at my compost. Unfortunately I discovered that it was frozen solid. I hadn't thought of that. The large bins that hold my compost together to keep it warm are also very good at keeping it cold. All the snow that blew through the wire mesh over the winter has compacted and solidified into a giant block of ice. Chipping at it with a pickaxe did little to fix the situation and now my arm is quite sore. It seems I will have to wait for warmer weather and some rain to dissolve the contents.
Since I was getting nowhere with the compost I decided I would do a bit of raking next. Our large birch trees spray down branches all winter long and in order to mow the grass in the coming months all the branches must be picked up. It took no time at all to find out how a winter of inactivity can affect one's body. I was winded almost immediately which was quite disapointing. So I moved on to another project.
Suddenly I realized why I never seem to get any one task accomplished in the garden. I tend to get tired and switch to something else halfway through. Not quite sure what the remedy is to that.
Well the next task turned out to be more branches but without the raking. The apple tree branches that were pruned in February had been left to lay where they fell in the snow. Now with the snow gone it was time to pile the branches in a far corner where they can spend the summer drying out. In a few months they will be cut up and taken into the basement to be used as firewood for next winter.
Something that struck me this weekend as I puttered about and found I was quite pleased with is that, opposed to last year, I now know where everything is located in my garden. Last spring I was scared to touch any of the beds for fear I would damage flowers that I didn't know were there. This year I was able to dig right in and cut back foliage without a care. The first bed I decided to clean up was the smallest one given my aching muscles. I started with the tractor tire. Yes I have a tractor tire sitting in my yard. It's even painted white to match the house. This a before photo.
Although it was mainly dominated by weeds last year I discovered there were some pretty pink flowers and a trailing sedum growing there. When I looked for these plants this weekend the sedum crumbled in my fingers and the stem of the pink flowers was gnawed down to a nub by mice.
|Last year this sedum was quite happy but this year it crumbled in my fingers|
|Cleaned up and ready for planting|
|That tuft of weeds is the 'bed'|
|Last summer's sedum from this bed.|
|Weeds removed, there is just a small pile of rocks left.|
When I was done enjoying the great outdoors there were still chores to be completed inside. The Amaranthus seeds have sprouted their first true leaves and were beginning to crowd each other so they were moved to their own individual containers.
More mystery seeds from MIL were planted and the black currant and Beauty Berry seeds that I had begun cold stratifying in January were brought inside to see if I could revive them. The red currants unfortunately got knocked over in the wind so I'll have to try those again next year. My seedling set up seems to have done quite well thus far and my only complaint now is space. As the seedlings have been potted out to larger containers the table has become more and more crowded Seedlings have now filled the entire table and many are living in window sills. And I still have one more month before I can think of planting them outside. I guess I should have waited a bit longer before getting my seeds started. We'll be living in a tomato jungle by the end of May. Perhaps I should think of building a cold frame this summer to accommodate seedlings next spring?
Is anyone else running out of room for their seedlings? Where do you put them when you're still waiting for warmer weather?