Yesterday the 2014 gardening season kicked off with the arrival of 2000 pounds of manure. I walked out the door and there it was at the top of my driveway: 50 – 40 lb bags of Thunderbird Track and Field Club Manure*. Awesome. My husband took this photo of me lounging on the bags before they were put away in the back of the yard (that is a whole other story involving one 14 year old, $25 and 45 minutes).
Today this is what I did in the garden: (1) PLANTED FAVAS. Removed the tarp from bed #4, added a few bags of manure which I first dug under and then planted the beans. This year I planted deeper than in previous years and I didn’t plant the beans too close to each other.
(2) PLANTED HERBS. The soil in the herb bed has dropped significantly. I first weeded the bed and then top dressed the bed with manure. I was careful when putting the manure around the chives (which are thriving), the bay plant and the tarragon, both of which seemed to have survived the winter. I have a lot of herb seeds leftover from a few of years ago, so I planted them fairly close together as I expect that the germination rate might be low. From N to S, I planted thyme, curly parsley, flat leaf parsley, santo long standing cilantro and then one row of mild mesclun blend lettuce. I had ONE chard seed left in the packet that I also planted. Finally, I pushed in a few “salad blend” nasturtium seeds around the bed. Done.
(3) FENNEL. The cabbage and kale in bed #1 survived the winter and is finally starting to grow. The fall-planted spinach has all disappeared (I blame the slugs), but the fall-planted arugula is starting to sprout. The arugula plants are quite hearty, so I covered them with a bit of manure, then planted three rows of florence fennel.
(4) FLORES! I first weeded and top-dressed the rest of the bed under the lilac and then planted sweet peas (fragrant ones from a friend and bijou dwarf blend). I sprinkled three other types of seeds in that area: deep red poppies, pollinator blend and blue delphinium and raked the dirt to cover the seeds. I look forward to see what (if anything) sprouts.
(5) Mucho Flores! The rest of the sweet peas were planted in the same place as last year, besides the strawberries. The whole rock garden bed is full of tulip and crocus sprouts and so I spread the manure around carefully. I also spread the manure in some of the beds in the front yard where the bulbs are coming up.
(6) LAWN: In our house, lawncare falls under the Man Gardening category, which means that the husband does it. He spread manure on the patchier parts of the grass, including the areas that were turned over by birds and racoons.
We used about half of the manure today, which leaves about 25 bags left for the rest of the spring/summer.
NEXT: Need to top dress the raspberries, the area under the tree in front, and add a few bags to the garden beds at the back before planting in April/May. I notice that the weeds (especially crab grass) are starting to come up, so I have been trying to pull some every day. Its also time to remove leaves from under the evergreens (like rhodos) and get rid of the rest of the dead things from last fall.
(*Every year I can count on my husband to say something like “Those athletes were sure BUSY this year!” And every time he says it, I laugh. Not because it is funny, but because I’ve been waiting for him to say it. This year, the track club upgraded to a better manure supplier; instead of being stinky post-bovine material, the manure is very fine and compost-like. So this year my husband said “Wow, this must have been produced by the very BEST athletes”. Ha ha.)