Garden Update — March ’14
Executive summary: So far, So good!
When you last saw the hole in my backyard, it was about 2/3 full of dirt mixed with soil amendment. Soon, I finished filling it, and had some dirt left over. Here’s what it looked like at the end.
That pile is about a quarter of the dirt that came out of the hole. I spread that extra dirt on the path at the top of the yard (near the pile of scrap rocks). I’ve watered it and walk on it every day, and I’m hoping it will get packed down enough so that when it starts raining again (in July) it won’t all wash away again.
Now, see that big rock on the right? That was the second “Moby”. In a previous post, I showed you the empty hole, and there was a big white rock lying flat on the bottom. I really was going to leave it there, but I knew that rock would haunt my dreams if I did. I delayed filling the hole at least a week while I looked at that rock sitting there… Finally I just had to move it.
And now, there it is in the middle of the yard. It’s just too big to pick up and move. When I find it in my way, I roll it aside a bit. At this point, the rock has been moving toward the northeast at a rate of about one foot per month. Ultimately, I really want it to move due north, maybe even a tiny bit west, and end up supporting a basin I plan to put around a very sad tree at the north end of the yard. More on that project some other time.
Anyway, once the hole was full of dirt, it was time to start planning things to put into the dirt. As before, I am consulting the Arizona Master Gardener site, looking for planting schedules and matching things I want to eat with upcoming planting opportunities.
First up: plant wildflowers in January. This gives the bees and butterflies something to do while waiting for vegetable plants to flower. So I did that. Unfortunately, the little bed next to the front door gets very little sunshine during winter, and my success with the wildflowers has been somewhat limited:
Quite sad-looking, aren’t they? And this is the best group. This represents about a third of the flower seed: another third went into a bed in the back which appears to have been overrun with Cryptantha and London Rocket, and the last third of the seed went out to a flat patch of ground in the wild part of the yard, and it also looks overrun with Cryptantha.
Undeterred, I went back to the AZMG site, looking for more “victims”. To confuse me (and that’s the only possible reason), there are several planting schedules, to accommodate the various elevations hereabouts. I am at 3400′, while most of Tucson is nearer 2500′. So my local FB gardening group is planting for somewhat warmer weather (they’re all ahead of me now). On the other hand, it’s not as cold here as the Master Gardener expects, and it’s been a very mild winter, so I’ve moved the schedule ahead a bit.
All of that is the long way to get to: I planted lettuce, spinach and potatoes on February 23rd. Yes, in complete disregard of the folklore, I planted both a root crop and surface crops on the same day (officially, it was not a day for planting anything). If you were so inclined, you might conclude that I have just a bit of trouble following instructions, haha.
On March 6th, I was (partially) vindicated!
That’s spinach running down the center, and the lettuce is the faint sprinkle along the right of that. The three potato mounds are along the left edge. So, good on the surface plants, and no action at all on the root crop.
And so it was for three long weeks.
This is one of those times when I don’t know what’s actually in the picture until I upload it to the computer, and even then I don’t look all that closely. Now I wish I could go back in time and get a better picture of that butterfly. It turns out that flowers aren’t the only thing that attracts the butterflies. They seem to like free water a whole lot too. So I get these guys coming around every day sucking water right out of the dirt. Freeloaders!
Anyway, that there plant is a potato, and I’m very, very happy to see it — along with his two pals, who have also shown their heads above ground in the last two days. And here’s an update on their other friends:
Pretty soon I should thin those, but at the moment, I’m just so happy to see them all.