Spring Clean Up

I started cleaning up around the garden this week. It’s the first opportunity to reacquaint myself with the notion of spending the rest of the seasons doing all required in working a large garden. An anticipation of so much of what I love to do with my time. Planning, planting, tending, picking and eating. Is all the work that goes into this ever expanding purposeful walk really worth it?

The first bite I take of that very first vine ripe tomato, that squirts across my cheek and runs down my chin tracing clean down to my elbow, is well worth the effort.

Our stick framed high tunnel needs some attention. It needs some re-engineering and a new piece of plastic ( Saturday I found a roll of 6 mil. greenhouse film 36’x150′ in Pucky Huddle for 50$) I already switched the side panels to hang on and swing to the inside of the building so that they can be secured with eye hooks. I would smack my head against their aluminum frame at least once a week the way they were propped up last year. Their new attitude will free up the beds along the outside of the building for better use. I’m also in the thinking stage about siding the bottom of the tunnel under the side windows. The dogs figured out that plastic is breachable. The little yellow snot dog figured out that she could bust through last spring. She could be found laying in one of the beds on cold mornings curled up and soaking in the heat. She is such a sissy compared to the other mutts.

The drawbacks of stick framing a high tunnel with culled lumber is that it is culled lumber. Splits knot holes, warping are common. The whole idea of a wood frame covered with plastic, filled with dirt and a steady supply of water added is not conducive to a long life for a structure. It is what it is. I have very little invested in it, other than my time. Making things work for you can be enjoyable. I only regret that I didn’t start making repairs last fall. Getting a late start this year and not having any winter greens sucks. I will be putting a 6mil greenhouse film on this year. In the past I have used off the shelf plastic that will only last a part of the year. The special films are much tougher and are rated against degradation from the sun for four years. Well worth the expense to leave the headache and heartaches of loosing a house full of greens or trying to wrestle with a new sheet every year.

So much is beginning to sprout. The perennials are peeking out from the leaf litter waiting on the warmer days ahead. This spring we have to split most of our plantings and replace the mulch around the entire house. If we don’t mulch our flower beds we would never be able to keep up with maintaining them. Two tandem dump truck loads of bark mulch from the saw mill will be enough to do the job. I’ll be asking my friends to come out with a shovel and containers so that they can take home divisions of our plantings. For years I’ve moved clumps of monarda, columbine, cone flower, hostas, portulaca, daisies, ferns, and poppies to new beds along our road. In all creating more work for myself. This year most will be given away. I just don’t want to start new planting beds.

Last week I weeded out the strawberry beds although I did not thin them. Theresa is the self appointed Strawberry Queen around here. I’ll leave the bulk of the beds care to the royalty.

The potatoes have found a furrow. I planted Pontiac Red and Yukon Gold. There is some nasty weather rolling our way from the southwest today. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a little more done this morning before the rain starts.



  1. Robin said,

    March 20, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    That picture of the tomatoe is making me wish it was summer already. You sound like you are farther ahead then us in the garden section. Today we picked up some potatoes at a farm store. Tomorrow we are getting a load of manure. Fun, fun, fun. 🙂

  2. karl said,

    March 21, 2010 at 6:48 AM

    my greenhouse, if you can call it that, has recycled plastic that is over six years old. it is translucent now but is not showing any signs of catastrophic failure. i have had experience with that shatter plastic. it seems to all happen in a single week. the yard full of tiny shards of plastic, what a mess.happy spring:)

  3. Woody said,

    March 21, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Robin..people who garden are about the only folk on the planet that get excited about a load of crap.Karl..I'm still picking plastic from the first episode. Apparently I'm a slow learner. I did find a roll of 6mil, greenhouse film Saturday. Hopefully it will be a while before I'm needing to replace it again.

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