I arrived back home in Maine Monday night, and found Spring bursting forth with flowers, including all these daffodils around the fruit trees in our orchard. I planted the bulbs last fall because the Holistic Orchard book suggested that they could be protective of the young fruit trees. But they also create so much beauty as the tiny trees are waking up, and look so spindly and fragile. But guess what? If you look closely, you can see that the new peach tree has tiny pink flowers budding out too.
I think we’ve come to that week when everything seems to wake up all at once. In years past, this has occurred in mid-April, but this year it is aligning with May Day. As I took a walk around the block, the forsythias were bright yellow, the grass in people’s yards was green and exuberant, and the trees were budding out. I walked along the brook and the trout lily’s spotted leaves were poking up all along the path. Back in the yard, I noticed tiny asparagus stalks emerging from the trenches where I had planted the crowns!
Back in March, I had purchased an Ostrich Fern root at the Maine Garden Show, and kept it in the garage while it was frosty outside. This morning I noticed that even the fern was already growing bright green, curled-up fiddleheads there in the dark, in its plastic bag, so I planted it next to the white pine tree.
Today the temperature is rising to 80 degrees, but hopefully it will even out again to the 50s and 60s that are our average for Maine in May. I love this time of year!
May our hearts wake up, too, rising from the weariness of the long winter, into the joy and exuberance of this season of growth and life.
I am trying to catch up on my blogging about all the garden excitement last week, but then we had some more drama this week. On Saturday, I was able to plant the second asparagus bed, along the side of the garage. (Sylvia and I had planted the first bed last Wednesday and then started digging the trench for this one.) Saturday, I finished digging the trench–which also involved pulling out lots of big and small rocks. Then I added compost and a bit of rock phosphate and wood ashes. I positioned the crowns on little mounds, spreading out their roots in a star shape around the center.
The part I couldn’t photograph was me trying to lean over the big pile of dirt on the side, to actually reach into the trench to position all those crowns. It was pretty funny. After that, I covered them with more compost, and then soil. As the spikes emerge, you are meant to keep covering them so that only a couple inches show, until the soil is even with the ground again. So this next photo is rather boring, just a trench of dirt really. But now you know what is hiding underneath.
THEN, on Monday night we had torrential rain here in Maine. Tuesday morning, when I woke up, this next photo was what I saw out my window. The rain barrels and their foundations had toppled over. I had extended the trench a couple feet beyond the garage wall, along the side of the rain barrel, thinking that the asparagus would be lovely next to it. And all might have been well once the trench was filled in again. But when the rains came pouring down, the soil was weakened, and the barrels were at their heaviest. The cement block near the edge must have sunk down, destabilizing the balance of the barrels, and the whole set-up collapsed. The cement blocks fell into the trench.
I was able to pull out the blocks, and move the barrels, but will have to wait until the ground dries out a little to set them up again. I guess I had better fill in that end of the trench before I do it too. Margy always is reminding me that mistakes are a part of this process–that I am learning as I go along. Yep–don’t dig a hole next to your rain barrel foundations!
Our plants from Fedco are being delivered some time today! And, I still have to dig the beds for the 25 asparagus plants. I started the other day, by turning over the soil behind the house, and getting rid of any weeds there. Saturday I dug a trench, and then put some compost in the trench. It still needs more compost! I also got rid of a no longer used drainage area filled with small stones and dirt–I moved the stones and dirt to under our water spigot.
My understanding is that for asparagus crowns, you make a mound in the middle of the trench, and then position the roots around it, each crown about a foot apart, and cover with a couple inches of soil, gradually filling the trench as the small plants grow, keeping a couple inches of shoot exposed. This particular bed has room for about 12 of the plants–so today I will try to dig another bed near the garage.
I am feeling a little bit panicked and excited about all the plants to plant: along with 25 asparagus crowns, there will be an apple tree, a peach tree, two blueberry bushes, three hazelnut bushes, (those garden beds have been ready since last summer). Also a mulberry tree which we hope to put further back in our yard. Also a licorice plant, and 3 golden seal plants which will go into pots until frost danger is past. Our friend said we could put them in her greenhouse for a few weeks.
So, not much time to write, but I wanted to make a log of the garden’s progress. Now out to dig for a while before going to the office.