This time of year, there’s more work to do than hours in the day and we’re taking advantage of this early spring weather and the lengthening days to get all the gardens ready for planting and irrigation. The days (and nights) so far have been perfect for farming. Periodic rain with sunny breaks. Just what we need to coax all those newly planted seeds to sprout. Most of our labor pool is available on weekends, so aside from an hour or two before the sun goes down at the end of a long workday, the weekends are when we do most of our farming. Saturday was a busy day that didn’t end until supper at about 9:30 p.m.! In the morning, we checked the beehive and found three frames filled with nectar, pollen and a strong pattern of capped brood. This means a healthy working hive. The queen is actively laying and new bees will begin emerging from their larval stage very soon. More bees means more workers when it comes time for the first major honey flow in June, which translates to more vegetables for us!
Bill, Ross, Mike, Pete and Marcia weeded the asparagus bed and top-dressed it with good, organic compost. They planted the rest of the potatoes, and finished putting newspaper and mulch down between the raised beds to keep weeds at bay. On Sunday, Maggie put in another succession planting of lettuces. Bill constructed a manifold system for the drip hose fed from a 300-gallon gravity-feed tank, which Ross and Mike built a platform to hold. This will collect rainwater diverted from the roof of the shed, or when it hasn’t rained, we’ll fill it from the well. It works great! At the end of the weekend, we stood back to admire all that we’d done. Mike dug out some old wooden chairs and put them against the back of the shed next to the new tank, a stump table between, creating a cozy, gracious place to sit in the heat of the day, a cool retreat in the shade of the apple tree from which to survey the garden, the newly planted cherry trees, and the beehive on the hill.
Next projects: Build a makeshift cold frame with hay bales and old window frames to harden off the greenhouse plants for about a week before planting. Hardening off means they need to be gradually exposed to the elements before they’ll survive outdoors on their own. And we’ll be planting the onions this week.