Embarrassing because, from the evidence, I could have had the greens in the ground three weeks ago. But I just had to do some other things to do first…

Oh, and more slugs than usual this year, it seems.

Like onto my new arugula bed. The seeds won’t germinate in the dark! (Well, maybe they will. But the plants won’t be happy!

Just reminder to myself hurry up and sheet mulch everything!

The leaf-mulched soil, however, was beautifully soft, dark, and moist, even though the surface was dry.

But then cliches are cliches because they touch on certain truths. The truth of this photograph being that it’s almost impossible to take a close up with the iPad’s miserably inadequate lens because iPad’s fovea is not the center of the screen but the top left, or bottom left, or top right, or bottom right, depending on which way you’re holding it.

Just as I took this photo the sun came out, so in a half-an-hour the line of droplets along the vein of the leaf will have been gone.

The rain:

I have a No Man’s land full of every kind of weed between my property and the adjoining property. Not only is the area really ugly, the switch grass invades the beds — an assault so powerful it overwhelms the clover, which does prevent seeding, but can’t prevent rhizomes.

But the light is partial, the soil is bad, and I don’t have time to ameliorate. So I decided to cover up the entire area with black plastic weed blocker from Fedco, as you see.

Here’s a close-up. So now the beds are defended from weeds by the plastic, which hopefully will cause everything underneath it to rot, and by the clover (which I think, since it is so tender and succulent, is also bait for woodchucks). The few weeds that remain I can pull, and soon the sheet mulch will protect that area as well.

Above is the existing arrangement. You see the problems: I don’t know why I put the bin there, but whatever the reason, it wasn’t good enough to steal the afternoon sun from even the weediest, ugliest patch. Also, since the compost bin has a wire frame, weeds grow enthusiastically on the outer surface of the aged layer. So I decided to move the bin.

First, I flattened a new area for the bin. I don’t know why I ended that path where I did, but it’s where I should have put the bin in the first place.

Then I laid down weed blocker. I used FedCo’s paper weed blocker because I wanted to hang onto the plastic weed blocker for the bottom layer of more paths. I know the paper will rot, but I’m not sure plastic would be a ultimate solution (and then, if I didn’t want the plastic, I’d have to cut it away).

Then I opened the bin to get the compost out. Notice that contrast between last year’s aged layer, and this year’s. Notice also the weeds. Annoying and ugly!

Having ready my shovel, I moved this year’s compost into a wheelbarrow (not shown).

Then I took the bin apart and moved it to the new location: Three of its edges are hinged, and I closed the forth with twisties, pegging the edge in place with a bamboo stick. (The weight of the compost will stabilize the bin, so it does not need to be staked, but I didn’t want it to moved around when I was filling it.)

Then I shoveled the new compost out of the wheelbarrow into the compost bin at its new location.

Here is the aged compost from the old bin. It’s retaining its cubical shape, much like a chocolate cake does when you remove it from the cake pan!

Nice and dark. I now draw a merciful veil over moving the aged compost to what I hope will become the daikon patch, because I overturned the wheelbarrow.

Here’s the more-or-less completed job. The bin is relocated, so the sunflowers have light. The bin rests of blocker, which hopefully acts as a No Weed’s Land. There is now a convenient path to the compost, with a (rather unfinished) entrance. (Also, in the project that got me going on this project, the nasty weedy area is covered with blocker, so the weeds don’t invade the clover and head for the garden.

I say almost finished because I seem to be doing construction this year, rather than planting, and… Look at the area around the sunflowers. It’s neither edible nor beautiful. Something has to be done.

Estimated time: 3 hours, including the weed blocker.

When last we left the paths, I had dumped the left-over stones and bricks where I stopped work, because I didn’t know how to go on. Well, when I was doing another project, which I’ll get to in a bit, I had the idea of making a visual pun in the stone dust: Instead of burying marble scraps, I would “cut a hole” in the path and then plant green ground cover in it. Certainly not grass, but maybe clover, or possibly an herb. I’d border the “hole” with marble scraps “mortared” with stone dust, and otherwise take measures to ensure the ground cover didn’t invade under the path.

This idea is pretty and also would be a different texture and temperature under bare feet.

Here’s a second version of the “hole in the path” concept, but closed, and not open. There’s a little bit of context: The woodchuck fence round the garden, and the compost bin (the project I mentioned).

The big problem, which is just black space in the picture, is what goes outside the path. The whole area has been nothing but weeds recently; I’m reclaiming it. But the soil isn’t ready for vegetables. And I refuse to put in a lawn. What to do? Clover, perhaps….

I’m told that ever-bearing strawberries are not invasive, so that’s a first for the Church Garden Sale. I got three, and then went back for a fourth, for a grand total of $12.00. Perennials do give a bigger bang for the buck, don’t they?

So, sunniest spot available, in front of the cantaloupes. The soil has never been amended at all, although I covered the area with seafood compost earlier in the spring. Clay-ey and rockey, as expected, but not too compacted, and plenty of worms! So, I dug the holes, and to make them happy in the inferior soil, I put seafood compost in the bottom, and flung in some azomite, green sand, and blood. Then popped in the plants, molded the soil around them, and mulched with straw.

Who knows!

I was afraid I’d gotten a stick instead of a tree! But apparently all the tree wanted was two sunny, over-60° days in a row.

And sufficiently unto the day are the deer thereof, say I.

Two, the only two lilac blossoms. All the others were lost in the frost that followed Summer in March. Sadness!

Wildflowers, I hope, and not weeds. Read the rest of this entry »

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