Around the yard

Today is the third day this year that we haven’t had rain – I don’t even feel like that’s an exaggeration – and it was 81 degrees. Amazing. As far as sunny days go, this one wins.

After about six months of rain, two days in a row of sun wreaks havoc on the plants – they tend to go into shock a bit, so after work this evening, I rounded the yard with a BridgePort HopCzar in one hand, and a watering wand in the other.

It really is amazing what a few days of sun can do. The flowers are all popping, finally, and the berries that have been green for ages, finally decided to start to ripen. The record rainfall this year has actually been quite a problem for Oregon berry farmers. Usually June is prime season for berries, but I’m afraid most of the fields look much like my sad little plants… green with a touch of orange.

The rest of the garden is struggling, too, actually. I got a little excited on the first sunny day we had this year. It was about April 15th or something, and I pulled a bunch of ground cover off of one of our banks, and terraced it, adding three raised garden beds I built out of 2×8″s. I used green fir (not pressure treated) because even though it will rot, at least it won’t leach creosote into the dirt where the plants I’m going to eat are planted. Shortly after the beds were built, I decided to plant my garden. All of it. So I was a little overzealous. In a normal year, this would have resulted in a few weaklings. This year, where we’ve only had three days of daylight, it resulted in a near dead garden. The slugs have taken over, eating nearly everything as soon as it can sprout… Poor beans…

It also meant that out of the 6-8 seeds each I planted of zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers, only about 4 of them total would come up because the rest of the seeds rotted in the swampy, cold soil.

The peas and lettuce are doing okay, as they’re typically cold-weather crops, but they’ve had to battle the slugs as well.

This little guy persevered long enough to survive the slugs, but pretty soon, the slugs will be the least of his worries… nom nom. I love sugar snaps!

And the corn… well, we’ll see if it’s “knee high by the 4th of July”… it’s trying… really hard.

The potatoes and tomatoes are actually both thriving. Though I must admit, after killing two sets of tomato starts (froze the first, slugs devoured the second) I finally bought some starts at Costco.

All in all, even with a late start and mushy soil, I think we’ll have a pretty good yield this year. Much better than when we were in the apartment, at least.

With the sprinkler on the garden, I decided to do a little clean-up of the flower beds. Something that really needed taken care of were the daffodils. This time of year, they start to get really floppy, and start looking more like limp noodles than plants. But the bulbs use the leaves to absorb food and energy for the next year’s flowers, so it’s important not to just cut the leaves off, especially if the bulbs are young like ours. To keep the floppy little fellas as pretty as possible (like that?), I use a little trick my mom taught me. Pull one of the leaves out of the ground

Gather the remaining leaves in a bundle, and fold in half.

Like the Michael Jackson tribute glove? After you’ve folded, wrap the single leaf you plucked around the folded-over bunch, and tie it.

Although it’s not as nice as if the flowers lasted all summer long, at least the little guys are somewhat presentable.

And with that, it’s time for dinner. Barbecue chicken anyone?

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