Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chickens!!! Whooo!!!!!

In an astounding display of support, Town Meeting members in Arlington voted last night to allow for the keeping of up to 6 hens (with plenty of restrictions) in Backyards in Arlington!!!! Whooo hooo! More details here:, with more to come after this weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gardening weekend

This was a great weekend for gardening!  Cool, but not too cold, sunny in parts, cloudy at times.  Just fine.

I went out to the community garden both days this weekend.  The three raised beds are done!  I added more compost to them, and this upcoming weekend I think I'm going to go to the Lexington compost facility and get even more, but the basic structure is done!  Yay!

These raised beds are made using the lasagne method: 4 layers of newspaper or heavy brown paper, 1 thin layer of twigs and branches (1 -2 inches), 1 layer of brush and straw from previous plants (1 - 2 inches), 1 layer of salt marsh hay (2 - 3 inches), 1 layer of shredded pine bark mulch (1/2 inch), and a thick layer of compost from various sources (4 inches or more).  It's going to sit for at least 2 weeks - I'm not planting there until after May 15th.  If I'd had all winter, I would have put the free horse manure from down the street, but alas, I didn't get until a couple of weeks ago.

In the background you can see the strawberry beds, which have a gianormous amount of weeding to be done.  The blueberries look like they're starting to grow, so it's just a matter of time now!

One thing is, I wonder if anyone knows what this weed is - I thought it might be vetch.   I feel like I might be digging up some kind of really awesome natives, but Alix and Meg both swear that most of it is purple loosestrife and the rest is just weeds.  Well, at least the strawberry plants are still blooming!

I also worked some in my own home garden.  I:
  • potted up Federle paste tomatoes
  • started Dorinny Corn
  • started more Aparagus "purple passion" from seed
  • Divded a bunch of Hostas
  • Moved the "American Highbush Cranberry" Viburnum trilobum to over by the house.
  • Added two new natives to the garden - Fothegilla minor and Viginia Sweetspire. 
I was all sad that I hadn't seen my Mason Bees in a while, then I looked down and low and behold, there was one feeding on a dandelion!  I thought it was a fly, until I heard it fly away, and saw that iridescent flash of green.  Hoo-ray!  Now I am wondering how many of those flies I've been seeing are just flies!  I bought them clay, but it was "clay", like from the art store, and now I'm wondering if that was a mistake, or if I should mix it up with my regular soil, I don't know.  They don't seem to be using it.  Maybe the females aren't awake yet.  My fruit trees haven't really started to bloom.  I hope they're doing okay!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Community Garden update, also Lettuce!

Spent a lot of time in the community garden on Tuesday, and after all that work, here's how it looked:
You can see the first of the 3 raised beds I'm installing, and the beginnings of the second.  We put down the newspaper and cardboard to block out the existing weeds.  I like newspaper because I won't be finding it in the garden for years to come - in order to lay down this paper we first had to pull up remnants of ground cloth that was who knows how old.  There was still some left, but I just ran out of "oomph".

Then we used the 4x4 boards as borders, and piled in there the twigs and brush from the plot that we had raked up.  Then we topped that with shredded pine bark (it tends to break down very rapidly) and salt marsh hay (few weeds), and finally I put a good 3 inches of compost on top.  I imagine everything will be broken down enough in a month when I go out to plant!

In the background you can also see the perennial rows, where there are strawberries and rhubarb already, and I just planted four blueberry bushes and some cranberry bushes.

You can also see my cute little cart which makes getting things out to the garden down the 500 yard path WAY easier.  I intend to go back out both mornings this weekend and spend a lot of time on the remaining beds!!!  I thought we would have had them done this Tuesday, but a rainstorm came up and my husband wanted to leave before we got rained on.
The lettuce in my home garden, that I planted out about a month ago, is looking really, really good.  It's covered to protect it from frost, cold winds, and also whatever is eating my peas (I'll get you, you pesky....  rabbit?).  So far that strategy has worked very well!

I'm looking very much to a tasty salad this weekend!  Now if only my carrots would sprout and give me yummy carrots!

A few of my asparagus babies are also up now - I could eat four pieces right now, if I wanted to, but those would probably be the last!

Last night I started from seed:
Beams Yellow Pear Tomato
Brown Berry Cherry Tomato
Gold Rush Currant Tomato

The tomatoes I planted last week are almost all up and doing good!  So are the peppers!