Green Thumb Up My Nose

Garden Report for 120312

We had three or four above freezing days at the beginning of last week, which melted all the snow on the ground. The bad news is, when I turned over part of the cardboard in the KeyHole Garden, I found four inches of still unfrozen snow. The good news is, when I picked up a decorative concrete block from elsewhere in the yard (N side of house, so not a warm spot), a great big worm slithered down into its hole. So, I presume the three inches or so of topsoil that the KHG is built on does indeed have critters, and they are likely to be active…just not where the snow is. One of the ways I am filling the KHG with nitrogen-laden materials (AKA ‘green’, of which it wants 1/4) is to rake underneath one of our cedar trees, home to, as Trevelyan might have said, “the songs of innumerable birds”. The other way is with kitchen scraps. They have to be vegetarian, of course. Beef bones and old wine bottles don’t count, even if the wine in them was new.

By the end of the week it managed to warm up enough I could lay down another layer or so — one mixed green which it is 15lb of coffee grounds from my barista and a bag of steer manure, overlayed by a brown layer made of a couple months worth of newspapers and a few more inches of raked leaves. I am almost to the top of the cinder block, so I’m going to have to start layering garden soil in and sloping it up to the central wire cage.

Meanwhile, I’ve started my bottom-heated seedlings. Four Alaska peas (55 days), two Large Red cherry tomatoes (75), four Beef Maestro hybrid tomatoes (80), and four Superba hybrid tomatoes(80). That’s days from transplant, which will be in mid to late May, depending on what the wx looks like. I have two more holes in my self-watering bottom heater, and I’m still trying to decide what goes there. I have given up trying to grow anything useful on the South Face of the house, so my cunning plan for this year is to put in a half dozen hops plants and see if I can get some shade. I’m planning on about ten tomato plants in pots, plus two hanging plants (that’s the cherries).

Have not yet decided on what to put in the keyhole garden. The tradition is, you pack the plants in. Deb Tolman, down in Texas, has put 70 tomato plants in ONE 28sqft KHG!! Mine will be ~40sqft this year. Plus, I have another 150sqft of regular garden. Part of that will be the peas — the four I’ve just started, plus another batch I’ll start next week, plus some that I plan to direct seed at the end of the month. The calendar said I could direct seed last week, but that would have required blasting caps or steam drills.

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