Ms Robin's Garden

  (Caneyville, Kentucky)
Happenings on the Hilltop
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Challenges Of Spring

Gardening in spring is always a challenge, but this year has been especially so. A friend commented I've been working like a rented mule. She's right, at least some days I have been. Other days, I've been cursing the weather and doing other gardening related chores that can be done in the greenhouse or indoors.
I try to work around whatever Mother Nature throws our way, but my patience is wearing thin these days. We had wonderfully beautiful days early on when we able to start breaking ground for the new garden, followed by rain, so had to wait a few more days for the second plowing. I had built up and planted a few raised rows before Al returned home from working out of town, then I became ill and had to spend a week in the hospital. Al took care of all the plants in the greenhouse until I could get back at it. Then there was a 2 day cold snap that delayed planting of some of the less hardy plants. The routine has been that he tills another block of rows and I build up the rows, removing the clumps of weeds and grass that decided to try to root again, then he comes behind me putting up the supports for the tomatoes and beans. Then we got the monsoon rains...6" in 36 hours. Luckily, it was a steady lighter rain, so the plants in the ground didn't get pummeled. I was still afraid to look at garden the following morning. I found all of the nice pretty raised rows of vegetables surrounded by 18" wide moats of water 3-4" deep. By the second morning though, all of that had soaked in and the plants survived the excessive watering. Another day to dry out, then back to tilling, building up rows and planting more transplants from the greenhouse.
Which brings us to this weekend. The wind was bad on Friday, but it was brutal yesterday. I put out a lot of plants Friday, and I spent most of the day yesterday building more rows. Got 11 more done, but I'd have to come inside after every couple of rows for a break. It was 36 when I woke up at 5:30, but we had a heavy fog and it reached 45 by 7:00 AM. There are too many rows to cover them all, so hopefully the fog helped protect the uncovered ones. Another not quite so chilly night is forecast for tonight, then back to normal the rest of the week. Fingers crossed.
Besides the weather issues, the bunnies took a liking to the Swiss Chard last week. They didn't bother it last year, so I didn't cover it when I planted it a few weeks ago. It has a net covering it now. I also had some problems with the birds finding the newly seeded trays of winter squashes, pumpkins and melons in the greenhouse a few days ago. Luckily, a few had germinated beforehand, plus they do germinate pretty quickly, so only lost a week on their growth. I now have a nice little net tent over the once again newly seeded trays. It's not like we don't keep them well fed over by the house.
On the other hand, everything is moving right along. There's still a few more things to plant out, but I was waiting till the middle of May to do those anyway, ie: things that are too sensitive to cooler temperatures or additional rows of things already planted. I'm really pleased with how well we are progressing. This first year of this new garden space has been a long slow progress as we till and build up rows, removing weeds, grass and rocks, but future gardens will be a breeze with the wide row beds already established. By the way, I found a real arrowhead while digging in the dirt. That was really exciting!
So, yes, gardening is a challenge dealing with cold, rain, heat, wind,  birds, wildlife and pest bugs (which thankfully haven't made an appearance yet)  especially when we are committed to growing fresh produce for others. But I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

Happy Mother's Day!
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