In the Garden

Beltane                                                                           New  Garlic Moon

One of those nights last night, unable to get to sleep, still rolling around awake at 1:00 a.m.  Up a little bleary.  Wrote  few e-mails, then out in the orchard, first.  I’ve had tent caterpillars on two trees.  Each time I have removed the tent and stepped on it or crushed the worms.  This is non-chemical pest control, a route I prefer and, as long as I’m not running a commercial operation, one I can pursue.

Now I wander in the orchard, looking at seed pods (fruit) beginning to develop from the last of the blossoms which dropped this week.  I’ll try to find worms and moths before they do 2011-05-17_0805early-spring-2011damage and as long as I can I’ll follow pinch and destroy.  After that, I think, right now anyway, that I’ll go with Gary Reuter, the bee rangler for Marla Spivak.  I’ll just put up with wormy apples.  This is partly out of regard for the bees who have enough pressure of them and they don’t need an added pesticide load from our orchard, but it’s more out of a commitment to no pesticides, grow strong plants and let them fend for themselves.  It’s worked reasonably well for me so far.

(before the fall)

After the orchard the potatoes were next.  Now that the soil has warmed up the potatoes have begun to grow, their dark lobe shaped leaves appearing atop a fragile looking stalk.  At this point the basics of potato culture involves mounding earth over the stalk as it grows.  That’s what I did today.  In the long raised bed where I have most of the potatoes this year, I also have a bumper crop of asiatic lilies and tulips.

I planted this bed originally as a cutting garden, years ago.  The same fall the bed was built I went out to the Arboretum to a lily growers sale and bought Minnesota hardy bulbs.  They’ve been in that bed ever since, maybe 10 years.  Boy, have they enjoyed that bed.  They’ve started lilies all over the place.  That means that as I mound the potatoes I have to move around the lily bulbs that have generated.  I hate to just throw them away because they’re so hardy and have been with me so long.  I’m trying right now to raise vegetables and flowers in the same bed.  That’s also worked reasonably well for me.06-28-10_earlylilies

I also mounded the leeks as my last action in the garden this morning.  In the case of leeks the mounding blanches the stalk, keeps it white underground and increases the usable part of the leek.

That done, I’ve come inside to work on my Latin.  Pentheus, now, Book III:509-to the end.