Thursday, April 7, 2011

Soil That Can Be Worked

The key gardening phrase on some seed packets is "as soon as the soil can be worked." That is when you can plant your first lettuce, peas, carrots, spinach and radishes. I have a large stack of seeds I can plant then. And so I've been going out to check the beds, turning over the soil a few inches at a time as it thaws. Until I can dig my shovel down to the bottom, I won't plant. I also need to be able to turn under and then leave for a week the chicken manure I've incorporated into the top layer. It was already fairly broken down, so shouldn't scorch the plants, but I want to make sure.

The thaw has come very quickly. The snow melted faster than I thought possible, and today was the first day to break 60 degrees. Still, it feels very late. Easter is as late as it seems it possibly can be, not until April 23. I'll put in the onions and potatoes on their liturgical schedule, Good Friday.The college has plans to return the koi to their summer fountain home on April 14, which was unthinkable even on April 1. But it seems the good thing about a late spring may be less of a chance of relapse.

Mating season is in full force, and one good thing about the late spring is the ability to see all the creatures. The male sand hill crane had a little competition, but he seems to have chased him off. Each evening, six to eight deer have been coming out and grazing on the edge of the prairie. One evening a lone turkey came stumbling out of the woods to join all of them-- seven deer, the three cranes, and one turkey. The muskrat is back on the pond, and the ducks are going at it loudly as well.

We've also spotted a coyote, which we hear but never see, twice on the property. One evening he skirted just before dusk along the edge of the large pond before turning and bounding into the woods. The other time he was along the stubble cornfield our neighbor maintains east of our property.

I have a few pans of small sprouts, that I hope will become real plants in the six weeks between now and when I can transplant at the end of May. By then I'll be ready for the next group of seeds, those with packets that read: "when the danger of frost is past."

No comments: