A busy day in the rainy yarden! (Saturday 5/6/23)

Today I got a lot accomplished in the yarden, so I thought I’d share an update with you. I went to my favorite place for plants, Schuring Greenhouse, located in the southern suburb of Kalamazoo, the village of Port-AHJ.

I went in with a strict list, I planned to buy a flat of strawberries and two (2) tomato plants. Well. Let’s just suffice it to say that did not go as planned, given the $71 tab I ran up in about an hour or so of shopping.

This is a flat of strawberries, 4 pretty flowers for hanging baskets, lemongrass (2), dill, lavender (2), lime basil (2), yellow bell peppers (4), red bell peppers (4), jalapeno peppers (4), Arkansas Traveler tomatoes (4), Mr. Stripey tomatoes (4), Celebrity tomato (1, in the larger pot), Sugar Baby watermelon (4), Hales Best Jumbo Canteloupe (4), celery (4), slicing cucumbers (4) and Black Magic eggplant (4).

I brought my purchases home, stopping at a friend’s house to share a lemongrass, and stopping at another friend’s house to share a yellow bell pepper, an Arkansas Traveler tomato, and an eggplant. My first order of business was to plant the strawberries in the asparagus bed. I added a full dozen plants to what is already there, and I suspect by the end of the summer those 20 or so plants will have spread out quite happily.

The lavender was planted in the front perennial bed, as another stinky plant to annoy the deer. I pulled a few weeds while I was out there, since doing a little bit of work several times keeps one from doing A LOT of work at once. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer 10 minutes weeding to an hour of weeding. I potted up the dill, the lime basil, and the lemongrass and moved on to the pile of vegetables I bought while in a springtime-induced fugue state.

Let me just tell you about the “easy” raised bed kit I was given last summer. It is four boards high, and the boards are supposed to slide into the corner pieces and then be screwed in. Seems simple, right? Yeah, no. Whoever was in charge of quality control at Board Planing Inc. needs to be reprimanded in the strongest of terms. None of the boards fit the slots correctly. They were either too loose, or required pounding in with a mallet, thus cracking the side of the corner block. I think it’s fair to say that I was, at best, frustrated. Those of you who know me well can imagine the incandescence of my ire. In my defense, though, it was raining most of the time I was at this task and that didn’t contribute to my mood. But, since I can do all things through spite, which strengthens me, I got tired of it after an hour or so and got my screw gun out and, paraphrasing the immortal Tim Gunn, made it work.

From right to left, Mr. Stripey tomatoes (3), red bell peppers (3), Big Rainbow tomatoes (3), Arkansas Traveler tomatoes (3), and yellow bell peppers. All of the tomatoes are heirloom varieties that I enjoy. The larger pots contain eggplant, the smaller contain dill, lime basil, and lemongrass.

But Amy! Isn’t that basically a buffet tray for the deer? Very good question, and one I asked myself. I’d like to thank these candidates for not picking up their yard signs. They’re still doing good things in our community! They just don’t realize it.

Now, before I start on the rest of the plants, I just want to own up to the fact that I LIED MY FACE OFF when I said I was going to not use three of the raised beds this year. I would never bold-faced lie to you, my loyal readers. I didn’t PLAN to do this until I got home and actually looked at what I’d bought. They’re still not planted to their full potential, and one of the beds is actually empty and will remain so. Mea culpa.

Now, on to what I planted where. The southwest bed contains one Celebrity tomato, and the broken stub of an Arkansas Traveler that was injured in the line of duty when that janky raised bed collapsed while I was trying to hammer the ill-fitting boards into the corner piece. I’m not bitter. There’s also a pair of celery plants, and two Sugar Baby watermelons. In the northwest bed, I placed two slicing cucumbers and two Hale’s Best Jumbo canteloupes. The canteloupe is an heirloom variety I’ve heard much about over there years and I’m excited to try it. I covered all of the plants with scraps of netting from the Great September Massacre of 2022. You can read about that here because I get PTSD just thinking about it. I repaired that panel this afternoon with double netting, so if those jerk deer want in, they’re going to have to work at it.

I can see you totalling up the plants I bought, versus what I gave away, and there are definitely extras! I’m donating four jalapenos, one yellow bell pepper, one red bell pepper, 2 Mr. Stripey tomato, 1 Arkansas Traveler tomato, two Hale’s Best Jumbo canteloupe, 2 Sugar Baby watermelons, 2 celery, and 2 slicing tomatoes to my favorite community garden in Kalamazoo, the Garden of Edison! They produced over 1,000 pounds of food for folks in need, and I fully support their mission and have from their inception. If you’d like to help, let me know!

Tomorrow’s going to be another work day at the Not So Seekrit Lair. I’m pulling up the concrete blocks that surround my sadly overrun iris bed. The blocks have been there for 20+ years so digging them out is going to be a real treat. Then I’m removing the irises and moving them to a bed under the walnut tree. These irises were propogated by my grandmother, and some of them are unique. I’m glad I have them, but I’m not looking forward to a day of digging tomorrow. Here’s a photo from better days before the grass took it over.

I’ll leave you with an updated status on the lilac in my backyard. I expect after the thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow these will explode into bloom! They’re SO close right now!

Author: Amy Crabtree Campbell

figuring it out as I go, since 1967

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