LAKE MACBRIDE— The Blue Spruce (picea pungens) showed new growth during my yard and garden walk. The tan-colored tips are breaking away, revealing young needles below. What was once a nine-inch seedling is now more than nine feet tall. It has been a nice, non-native addition. We are all transplants of a fashion. While it was not my intent when planting the Blue Spruce, it serves as a reminder of many recent trips to Colorado.
The lilacs and apple trees in bloom made the first lawn mowing memorable with fragrances that bond me to this place. The bare rooted plants from the nursery were dormant but have come alive and enliven me.
The mowing deck was set as high as possible during the first cut of lawn. The grass was long and my process is to prepare for re-cutting and collecting the clippings today. After the first cut, the lawn looks lush.
I spaded the first of two tomato plots. After working the soil with a rake, I’ll plant the first seedlings and dump the clippings directly on the plot as I cut them. I left a shallow row on the north end for existing chives and oregano. That space will be filled out with other herbs.
The tomato decision has been made. The first plot will be home to eighteen growing cages bonded together in couples on a single stake. This is to reduce the number of metal stakes used and optimize the space around them. One row will be the Martin (F1) Italian tomato which retains a variegated green and red color when ripe. The intent for this tomato is ketchup making, although that may change as they mature and we see what they taste like. The center of the plot will be three types of cherry tomatoes (Sweet Olive (F1) baby grape tomatoes, Black Cherry (OG), and Gold Nugget (OG) golden cherry tomatoes). The third row will be Olivade (F1) and Monica (F1) (OG), two tomatoes for use in sauces, and Rose (OG), an heirloom pink tomato. Unlike in past years, I plan to keep closer track of the varieties and how they produce.
The other tomato plot hasn’t been finalized, but it will be some combination of Acer, Beefsteak and Best Boy planted in similar couples. The Beefsteak and Acer are slicers, and the Best Boy will be canned whole. Whatever tomato seedlings I don’t use will go to my sister-in-law’s garden.
A local chef is seeking spring garlic, and it looks like my plot will produce an abundance. Once it matures to spring garlic stage, I’ll harvest a couple of bunches and take it to his restaurant to barter for store credit.
It was a productive day in the garden.
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