Sunday, May 20, 2012

Evicted from the Garden

  We got some bad news a few days ago.  The City of Everett is going to put in an access road on the water main right of way on our neighbor's property.  This is bad news because the neighbors have been letting us do a vegetable garden there.  Its even worse news because they will be doing this within the next two weeks.  We do have other garden area, but my indian corn, onions, and potatoes will all be evicted from the site of the new roadway.  The good news is that Linda has agreed to let me put in a vegetable garden in the front yard in the area where the lawn was ruined by the felling and milling of the big cedar tree.  

    This interferes significantly with my trial of a new variety of indian corn called Cascade Ruby-Gold Flint Corn.  I got it in the mail a little over a week ago from Fertile Valley Seeds, located in Corvallis, Oregon.  Its supposed to be a big improvement on the Painted Mountain variety I tried last year.  I'm looking for a variety of indian corn that won't need to be babied in our cool maritime climate.  With my old variety of indian corn I often had to pull-up the plants and put them in the garage so they could finish drying out of the rain.  Painted Mountain was definitely faster than the old unknown variety I had used previously.  I had merely bought some indian corn at a fruit stand in Eastern Washington and then decided to plant it.  Its a pretty safe assumption that it wasn't the best choice for our climate.  If I can get some area prepared in the front yard I may try transplanting the indian corn.  More than likely the indian corn will be deferred to next year.

      In addition to the indian corn I also bought some garbanzo beans which you can parch just like some corn varieties.  However, the instructions with the package of garbanzo beans states that they have to be planted mid-March through April or else you get small plants with few seeds. I will therefore defer my garbanzo experiment to next spring as the whole point of a garden is to harvest more seeds than I plant.

    My erstwhile corn patch involved another experiment in which the planting bed wasn't tilled.  Instead I covered the existing weeds and grass with a layer of cardboard and then covered the cardboard with layers of leaves, compost, spoiled hay, composted horse manure, etc.  The idea is that the cardboard kills off most of the existing weeds over the winter, the worms move the organic matter deeper into the soil, and   the finished garden plot has nice loose generally weed free soil.  It seemed to be working well. I guess I'll know better how well it worked when I remove all of the good dirt from the corn patch over to my new garden area in the front yard. I am not about to let all of that good organic humus be buried under a road. That means a whole lot of digging and moving dirt with a wheelbarrow. Obviously, I don't have time to prepare another planting bed in that manner for this year.

   Things are looking much better on the fruit side of the garden.  Our strawberries are looking good and my plum tree has set fruit on all three varieties.  I have good fruit set with my asian pears and most of my sweet cherries have set fruit as well.  I expect to have both red currants and black currants, along with our first harvest of hardy kiwis.  Its still too early to tell with the apples and the blueberries, but I'm always optimistic.  Hopefully, we'll have a continuous supply of some sort of fresh fruit from the middle of June through the end of October.


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