garden, April 24

Gardening has been moving at a snail’s pace this year. The weather has been unpredictable, as is typical of spring in New Mexico. Sunny days followed by a weekend of snow or cold rain. There is a reason our average last frost date is listed at the end of May — you just never know what the sky is going to do.

Indoors, I have started the following:

  • summer squash
  • bell peppers
  • roma tomatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • honeydew
  • watermelon
  • cucumbers
  • sunflowers
  • echinacea
  • chamomile
  • leeks

My seedlings are still very small, owing to the fact that I got a late start getting them into seed pods, and I only have about a 50% success rate with seed germination.

Outside, things are rolling along. I pulled a bunch of dead roots out of planters, and was dismayed to discover that the elms had even gone up the bottoms of ones that did not have a plate underneath them. I pulled a ball of roots about the size of a soccer ball out of one of them! Lesson learned. I also pulled out what I thought was garlic, and discovered it wasn’t garlic at all. It was green onions, from bottoms I had cut and regrown on the windowsill. They went without water for too long, and died, or so I thought. I had buried them in with the garlic, and they grew back. I separated them, put the actual garlic in the garden bed, and then moved the onions to the front yard.

In containers, I planted romaine lettuce, another lettuce mix, spinach, cilantro, and 5-color Swiss chard. I also transplanted a mint plant to a container, and it is happily spreading at this point.

I sowed radishes, carrots, fennel, beets, and snap peas. I knew radishes germinated quickly, but I didn’t realize just how quickly. They went in the ground on Saturday, and I already have shoots coming up. I didn’t have any success with beets last year, so I’m curious to see if turning the dirt and getting rid of the elm roots will result in a yield this year.

But one thing I quickly realized is that I’m not going to have enough room for everything. The squash and melons require room to spread their vines, and they alone would take up most of the space. After surveying the yard, I found a spot behind the coyote fence that I think will work for another raised bed. This weekend, I’m going to try my hand at building a frame.

I’m still torn about what to do about the elm roots. Conversations with friends and gardening centers have confirmed that the only way to get rid of them is to gird them and then douse the girded area with weed killer. Being someone who fancies organic produce, I’m having a really hard time convincing myself that it’s okay to put poison on anything, even an invasive weed. It’s not just that it will kill the trees and leave residue in the dirt; I also don’t want to inadvertently kill any wildlife that might eat something contaminated with it.

Speaking of wildlife… it looks like gophers may have moved into the yard. That’s going to be another big problem if they have. I’m hoping the presence of the cat will be enough to convince them that my yard is not a safe place to live.


One thought on “garden, April 24

  1. “you just never know what the sky is going to do” – That is a poem waiting to happen.

    Anywho, farming is beautiful. I’m so impressed with you and what you’re making. I’ve been giving my dogs echinacea lately. There’s a bout of kennel cough circulating the neighborhood and through trial and error I’ve learned that doses of honey and a small amount of echinacea will rid the little darlings of their ailments faster than taking them to the vet for meds. Natural treatment for the win! Oh, and don’t get me started on gophers.

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