Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The weather has finally been somewhat agreeable, not too hot and not raining, so I've been taking the opportunity to pull copious amounts of weeds.

One problem I always have is with whatever bed I plant the peas in. The beds are four feet wide by 24 feet long, oriented east-to-west, so I usually plant one long row of peas along the north side of the bed. Up until this year, I plopped stakes in the ground and tried to rein in the peas with twine. They would always fall over and into the bed on the south side, and into the lawn on the north. And I would always plant spinach just to the south side of the peas because they're something that grows quickly and I can get them out before the peas flop on top of them. But the peas block my access to the spinach from the north, and my arms aren't long enough to reach them from the south.

So what I end up with is a weedy mess.

And then I had one of those DUH moments. Why don't I plant the peas one foot to the south, and grow my spinach on the north side of the peas? By the time the peas are tall enough to cast shade, the sun is high enough in the sky to shorten it, and I think spinach would like a little shade in the warmer weather. It would make picking the peas on the south side easier, too.

Last year I made tomato cages out of some 4x4" wire mesh, but they weren't strong enough to hold up the tomatoes, and rendered it impossible to pick the tomatoes. So the wire mesh has been relegated to pea fencing, and the peas are much more upright this year than any previous year. So I've also gotten rid of the flop-over problem as well, increasing my spring garden space. Now I'm in the market for tomato cages. Anyone have favorites?

Elsewhere in the garden, my oregano seems to have some sort of stem fungus that causes the plant to wilt about this time of year. I have a feeling that, even though oregano is from the mint family, it's a might too wet for it where I currently have it. So I harvested all of my oregano on Sunday, as well as my thyme. I need to replace the thyme plants anyway, as I haven't taken proper care of them and they've gotten too woody.

I also need to plant the six cranberries that I bought from Raintree Nursery. They were on sale, and the thought of fresh cranberries in the fall was too good to pass this opportunity up. They're going to be a ground cover in the front yard, and should provide me with at least four lbs of fruit when they're a little bigger.

Even though my other pear bloomed this year, it was so cold and miserable that the bees didn't bother to show up until too late, so I can only see three pears growing. Kind of a bummer, but better than nothing. I think a purchase of mason bees might be in order next year. They're not so fussy about the cold.

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