Turnip Leaves and Lettuce

Field Tile Protecting Celery Plants

Field Tile Protecting Celery Plants

I got naked as I get in the yard on World Naked Gardening Day.

Suffice it that under my Carhartt overalls, Oracle T-shirt, Dickies socks, Calvin Klein underwear, University Square Industries cap, Rugged Wear ventilated gloves and government-issued army boots my nakedness kept its own sensible and properly hidden vigil.

I worked our small plot of land the whole day. By the end of the shift I was drained with no energy left to drive 30 minutes each way to a political event in Coralville.

Onions Between the Composter and Daylillies

Onions Between the Compost and Daylillies

Contrary to the advertisements, I don’t think “nature” intended anything regarding humans wearing clothing to garden. In fact, there is not much “natural” about gardening. We have specific intent as to what will happen in each plot we plant. We cultivate things the same way we do with any aspect of human culture. “Gardening” is a human creation. The idea of taking off clothing to weed thistles borders masochism. The idea of turning soil with a spade and without shoes would be nutty.

Row of Peas

Row of Peas

A lot of gardening got done despite the clothing.

Except for driving my car from the garage to an impromptu parking spot on the lawn, and collecting grass clippings for the garden, my direct use of internal combustion engines yesterday was minimal.

I worry a bit about the nuclear reactor generated electricity stored in the batteries for my trimmer, but other than that, it was a low impact day.

The lettuce planted March 2 is ready to harvest. Too closely planted turnip seeds are producing leaves an inch long. They are tender and require thinning if I want any turnip roots from the row. There are some carrots in my sunken containers, but not as many germinated as expected. There is plenty of lettuce for salads and tacos, and the prospect of turnip greens both for salads and a batch of soup stock. Those things are going well in the garden.

Belgian Lettuce

Belgian Lettuce

What’s going less well is the spring garlic. After producing in abundance for many years, this year’s crop will be less. I’m not sure why. Too, the extra warm weather is slowing growth of radishes. Hopefully the first row will mature in the next week or so. Both of these crops will be donated for charity sales planned for next weekend — that is, if they produce by then.

Thinking horizontally, and having great hope, I planted broccoli in two rows. Last year brassica oleracea cultivar didn’t produce, despite many efforts to protect the plants. Using a batch of old tomato cages as support, I buried chicken wire about an inch deep in the soil around each seedling. The cages are tall enough to keep deer away while the plants are young, and hopefully the rodents and rabbits won’t find their way through the chicken wire. Once the plants take off, I’ll high-fence the rows. Fingers crossed, since home-grown broccoli is the best and we missed out on it last year.

It took the usual two plus hours for the spring harvest of grass clippings. I cut the lawn short, collect the clippings using the bagging attachment, and piled them up for use in the next week or so. For one of the few time during the growing season, my lawn is shorter than the neighbors — not that I’m paying attention to that. Mulch is critical to minimizing well water use, and grass clippings are free but for the labor of collecting them. Today’s plan is to spread them around.

Garden Viewed from the North

Garden Viewed from the North

Determined to capture new images, I took some photographs before going inside for the day. Our 0.62 acre lot is not big, but there is a diversity of habitat here. The rodents are free to leave any time they wish, and I attempt symbiosis with deer who have been traveling through our lot for much longer than our home has been here. Here’s a short gallery of some favorite new photos from Saturday.

New Growth on the Blue Spruce

New Growth on the Blue Spruce

Bird's Next in the Golden Delicious Apple Tree Stump

Bird’s Nest in the Golden Delicious Apple Tree Stump

Apple Tree After Subzero Weather Pruning

Apple Tree After Subzero Weather Pruning

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