Idle Hands

While waiting for vegetables to grow I’ve managed to stay busy with a few projects around the yard. The first was to build a small shed over the weekend. This is the most ambitious thing I’ve done carpentry-wise, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Hopefully it won’t fall down any time soon. We needed to a place to keep bicycles and other things, which were clogging up the other shed. Problem solved.

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I’ve also been wanting to find a cheap solution to our driveway. We didn’t have a proper driveway poured when we built our house, and have been making do with construction gravel. I’ve always liked image of a driveway that consists of two tire strips in the grass, but white clover seed is cheaper/faster growing than grass, so oops, more white clover.

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I also had a bunch of rocks laying around, so used them to create a makeshift apron at the end of the driveway. It looks nice but really isn’t helping to keep the gravel from spilling out on to the sidewalk.

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In a few weeks it should fill in nicely. On the plus side, more green manure for the garden.

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It’s been beautiful and hot here lately and the vegetables are growing quickly.

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I have a cautionary tale regarding Jerusalem artichokes. Last year I planted some that grew into beautiful tall plants, but when I went to harvest them in the fall I could hardly find any. This year I decided to plant some fruit trees where I had the artichokes last year, and when I was preparing the beds for planting I found a few odd leftover artichokes, which I relocated to another part of the yard. I could have sworn there were no more Jerusalem artichokes in that soil. I was very wrong — they are popping up in droves.

I keep plucking the leaves but I’m hesitant to actually dig up the soil since I planted ginger in this particular spot.

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In their new home they’re thriving. And now I can say to anyone contemplating Jerusalem artichokes, plant them somewhere that they can go wild.

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I love this time of year…

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Vegetables

One of my favorite activities is puttering around in the garden listening to the Red Sox, and I got to spend a lot of time doing that this weekend. I usually plant my summer garden during the Golden Week holiday (a string of random holidays that come at the beginning of May), and while that doesn’t technically start for another few days, it was too nice this weekend not to plant a bunch of vegetables.

But first, I’m trying something new. I have six comfrey plants that I planted last year growing around the yard, and now in their second year I’m ready to start cutting them back and witnessing firsthand their notorious fertilizing power.

I’m using the cuttings of four of the plants to try and make compost tea. I filled a 35 liter bucket, which should decompose over the next few weeks and leave me with a concentrated liquid that I can dilute and feed to other plants in the garden. Hopefully I’ll be able to repeat the process a few times this summer.

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I also chopped up the cuttings from the other two plants and put it in each of the holes I dug for the vegetable seedlings to give them a boost of nutrients.

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Here’s the main veggie bed. I haven’t planted anything too fancy this year, just the standard summer vegetable lineup.

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I stuck a bunch of peppers in the keyhole bed.

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Elsewhere, the potatoes are doing a lot better than they did last year.

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In fruit news, maybe I was wrong in thinking I wouldn’t be getting any peaches this year.

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And it seems like the third time’s the charm for me and fig trees. They seem to be my Achilles heal in the garden and I’ve killed two of them previously, despite not being notoriously hard to grow.

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Tis the season.

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