Thursday, May 06, 2010

Gardening at 5,000'

Ian and I shopped for plants after my haircut on Tuesday. We went to three nurseries without finding what we were looking for. I talked him into going to G&G Nursery which is out our way, but it's where I shopped before I retired - not out of my way then. We found everything we wanted and came home with these battered ranunculus - free.

I planted them in two elevated perforated tubs to protect the plants from rabbits and the tubers from ground squirrels. We will need to pay attention that we don't both water the tubs and drown the tubers.
Last night the temper-
ature dropped to 26 degrees and my poor pretty flowers couldn't take that cold. Neither could Ian's cilantro. I think the flowers will come back but the cilantro won't.
I spent several hours this morning working in the yard, not planting. Perhaps unplanting is more like it. We spend more time pulling out than putting in. The roots in that basin were from below the beheaded (by frost) St. George. I wanted to plant the basket-of-gold cuttings from Mim there, but my trowel ran into some kind of succulent root system. It took a shovel finally to unearth the whole thing. I don't know what it was and hope I got all of it.
I spent close to an hour alone removing this vicious grass from the day lilies. I don't know if you can see it - perhaps click for big - but the system runs in a linear fashion. I used the spading fork to loosen the area, then had to kneel and put my hands below the line of root to find where it was going, then stand up and spade, then kneel and locate - for an hour. My quads are muy oucho tonight.
Meanwhile, the garden fortress is making progress. The front bed is half onions, garlic and horseradish - soon to be squash. We found the squashes we want but will wait to plant them another week. The far left bed is only potatoes, with some already sprouting. The right bed will be tomatoes, though only two are planted right now.
The only way we can harvest tomatoes without having a hot house, even those with a short growing season, is by using walls of water. We only had two this year that weren't leaking so Ian's has ordered some more be delivered later this week. Even with this protection, these two sustained some damage last night.
I decided to treat myself to a solo act spin-in on the deck this afternoon when I realized it wasn't windy - so rare and first time this year. I asked Ian how hard it was blowing. Ever the sailor, he said - not much - maybe 5 knots. He might as well have said 5 yachts!

I'm plying the first of my raffle silk with Benita's brown Merino. The silk has been a struggle to spin evenly, but in plying, it appears to be more of a designer yarn. I still need to full the skein and sample for gauge, but it looks promising.

Right above the blue reflecting ball, see him? That varmint?? I can't help but think of Monty Pythons In Search of the Holy Grail when I talk about our predators - sharp pointy teeth!!


LA said...

When I lived in New Mexico, I found that container gardening was my best bet! I used an old watering tub for my green beans and cantaloupe. Whiskey barrels are great for tomatoes and lettuce. Those late frosts are killers!

marion said...

I learn a lot from you people at the other side of our little world. Gardening is so diffrent from my way of gardening. Well, for starters I live in a city, have quite a large garden although for you it must seem a tiny one. 13 meters length and 5 meters wide. We have no problems with wild anymals or anything like that (we do with our neighbour every now and then because he doesn't want any leaf or whatever in his garden so we have to keep everything inside our fence). I love to read your stories though.

Happy gardening (and weaving, spinning, dying, ...........)

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

"But its got big teeth!" lol Love Monty Python :)
I gave up on a garden, I've just had to spend way too much time away from home during the summer when I was dispatching... I'd come home to fried veggies right there in the dirt lol

Benita said...

That yarn looks luscious!!

Yeow! Gardening in your part of the country is tricky, isn't it? I'll keep my fingers crossed that there will be no more frosts until October for you.

Sara said...

The beheaded St.George is just Rong!!

(unless it is a contemporary political statement, than I agree :).

Valerie said...

Ouch! Such a shame about the frost and your new plantings. We generally are not out of frost danger until the end of May, so I just wait. Most of the annuals will never take off if they start in the ground with "cold feet".

My perennials are doing quite well so far this spring...I should do a photo update. But life is busy, busy, busy right now.

Oh...thanks so much for the poem a few posts ago. I didn't see it until yesterday. We've been away.

Robin said...

Wow! Gardening from a WAY different perspective. You need Earl Gray for a day. He'd take care of that varmit for you!

Tina T-P said...

Oh, The Shepherd is having the same problems - freezing weather that toasted a little bit of everything he planted last weekend and those long eared varmints - he bought some stuff at Cenex today that is supposed to repel them - time will tell, I suppose. T.

Leigh said...

Your garden fortress is looking good. I really admire you two, considering your gardening challenges yet you stick with it. I have to admit that I do more unplanting than planting too. Mine is all the grass and tenacious weedy things that refuse to vacate my garden beds, no matter how many times I pull them out by the roots!

beadlizard said...

Do you use reemay row covers? I'd rig a bit or fence or even coat hangers around the tops of those tubs and make a tent out of old feed sacks. One layer should work. Pop the tent on for cold nights. Pop it off if/when it's warm enough in the morning. I built an entirely new world in my garden with row covers. Couldn't use containers -- they couldn't hold the heat well enough. 4'x20' raised beds were my smallest unit. It was double digging and a thick layer of hot, partially composted chicken ess and straw a foot down, then soil, then seeds or starts. And planting even SEEDS directly usually didn't happen until May 25th. Everything else was started in flats and lived in the one-room log cabin with us...

Didn't have small varmints -- I think my kin ate them! Did have white tail deer, elk, and moose, but also had Fort Knox 8-ft fencing.