Sunday, March 29, 2015

If it's Spring, it Must be Project Season

Even tho cold still has us in its firm grip, it truly is spring now and we are promised warmer weather next week.  It should be in the upper 60's already, but we are promised lower 60's for the next 10 days.  That's a start.  Inevitably, then, it's time for the project list for spring. 

With my "sneaking away from work" time curtailed because I am already training my replacement, I will have less time to work in the garden until June.  But I still have one large project planned and two smaller ones.   First the smaller ones:

Clean up the bed of hellebores:  We have just let the hellebores spread unimpeded for the past 15 years.  There are hundreds of volunteers each year.  So far I don't have any weird colors from the cross pollination, so i am very happy with the situation.  Originally i had heuchera and tiarella in this bed, as well as the monkey grass, but the former have disappeared.  This year, I plan to dig out all of the money grass and clear the way for the hellebores to take over the whole bed.  Not so much a project, as a recognition of "che sera, sera".

Improve the cutting bed:  I've never really had the time that I should spend on the cutting garden, and it may be June before I really get to this, but I want to expand and improve this bed.  I'm going to make it a little wider and put some pavers down so I can step across it more easily.  Soon i will have a source of stones to put around the entire bed as an edging - to better define the bed and to keep some of the grass out.

And, the big project:  I'm going to pull out the pond - also known as "the local heron's feeding grounds"; move the sitting area to the future former pond area; and put in a raised tomato bed where the glider is now. Whew!  This will take several weekends.

First, I need to drain the pond, but it has been way too cold and wet to do it yet.  Normally, I would have done it this weekend, but with soggy ground, I don't dare pump 75 gallons of water into the garden.  If it stays dry all week I can do it next weekend.  The water is full of "fish nutrients"  [wink, wink!] so even if i had another way to dispose of the water, i would want to use it to water and feed the perennials.  
With the glider here and facing east (right) one can look down the length of the main bed.  From May to fall it's full of flowers, birds, butterflies and bees.  It will be a great place for a glass of wine now and then.

Then, obviously, i will need to fill in the hole.  I have most of the clay that came out of it still in a mound behind the compost piles, and will use some of that in the bottom of the hole, but at least the top 12 - 15 inches will be the good "webb dirt" that I have made over the last couple of years.  That creates an additional sub-project ... getting rid of the ground hog.  

As far as I know, he [or she] is still ensconced under the good dirt that is left in the compost.  Am calling the county agent on Monday to see if s/he has any suggestions.  At this point, i am thinking of running water down the hole and making him move ... or swim.  Am a little concerned about this approach.  Anyone got a suggestion, or even better, actual knowledge about how to encourage a ground hog to move on?

Assuming I can free up that dirt, i'll fill the hole and then move the pavers from the right side of the walkway over to the the left side and make a new sitting area.  There is actually more natural shade on the left (now that the crabapple tree is gone) so it will be a more comfortable place and more likely to be used.  Then I'll put a 4 x 4 raised bed in for additional tomatoes this year.  Already have the corner braces, so only need to make quick run to the lumber store and many bags of compost to do the bed.  Hope to have it done by the first of May.

I plan to put a new fence along the shed and have ordered some lavender that is supposed to do well in our humid summer climate to plant along the fence along with some daylilies that I can move from over-grown clumps.  I think it will look pretty by next year. 

All those stones that are currently around the pond will someday be around the cutting garden.  As i recall it's more than 1,000 pounds of rock, so will take me several days - and many, many trips in the garden cart, to move!

So, what projects do you have planned for this spring and summer?