Friday, March 8, 2013


Who's ready for some garden talk? No? Too bad.  Because here we go . . .

We all got a little involved with the The Victorian Kitchen Garden series this winter. Even A. watched some of it and read the accompanying book that the MiL bought. And then he decided to build a hotbed with sheep shit.  Because why not?

Manure generates its own heat as it decomposes, as well as being a good fertilizer.  So if you mound it all up and then cover it over with glass or plastic, theoretically you can create a little mini-greenhouse right out in the garden.

So A. made a big pile of sheep-shit straw, the cleaned-out grossness from the chicken coop, and soil on top, covered it with a plastic tunnel thing the MiL had bought, and surrounded the whole thing with straw for added insulation. It was a lot of work.  The wealthy Victorians, of course, had like thirty laborers in their kitchen gardens, so what did they care how much work it took to produce early lettuce*?


We left it to start "working" and getting warm, and then this afternoon, I planted seeds.  Two salading (I can't resist) mixes, a couple of short rows of radishes, and a short row of sorrel.

Oops on the sorrel though, which is apparently a perennial and therefore should not really have been planted in a temporary bed. It can be transplanted, however, so I guess I'll do that later in the summer.

A. also found that one of the overwintered collard plants managed to escape getting devoured by varmints, so he put a protective milk jug around it in the hopes that it will start growing soon and reward us with more early greens.

Something also ate the tips off the garlic sprouts. That won't have any lasting detrimental effect; it's just annoying.

While I was out there with the wheelbarrow getting more hay for the sheep, I mucked out some of the nasty sheep-shit straw from the floor of the barn to start mulching the asparagus.

AND the MiL and Cubby started leek seeds a couple of weeks ago that are now growing quite happily under a grow light in the downstairs bedroom.

AND AND, while I was outside tonight with Cubby so he could play in the dark--the most exciting thing ever to him and which actually means he can play outside the dining room door in the dim light cast by the patio light--I decided to clear out the flower bed under the magnolia tree out there. Because the crocuses are trying valiantly to come up there, despite all the old leaves and pieces of wood and various other detritus that got left there over the winter. I got all the junk out of there and raked it off, so they have a much better chance now.

Green things! Growing things! Which probably means a blizzard is just around the corner, this being upstate New York and all, but SPRING IS COMING, WHEE!!!

* Called, quaintly, "salading" in the series. That sounds so tasty, doesn't it? Anyone out there from the British Isles? Do you still call it this, or is this an antiquated term? Either way, I like it.


Daisy said...

I'm so stuck in spring fever. I want to be digging in the dirt and getting my seedlings out. Seedlings? I haven't even put my seeds in!

Sherry said...

Ah! Just reading your post makes me believe Spring really will come to the North Country after all.

Jenn said...

I'm from the UK and have never heard the term 'salading'. It could be antiquated - or it could be a southern word. I have watched Victorian Kitchen Garden and didn't notice the word salading being used I'll have to listen out for it next time - I think I was too busy trying to think of ways to persuade my husband to put a greenhouse on top of the horse manure pile.

tu mere said...

Had to look up what sorrel was, so I'm way out of my league with "salading". Wouldn't even know if it was a southern word as Jenn suggested, as an edible garden at our Louisiana homestead would have been laughable. Could you picture Duchess and Holy tending a garden? See what I mean.

Your dad's about a week behind in planting our tomatoes as we needed to move the garden and got a bit behind with the process. Looks like the neighbors will again be harvesting the best while we're on vacation. Oh well, sometimes life just works out that way.

Anonymous said...

The tips of our garlic are frozen off, maybe yours as well.
We planted onion sets next to the garlic on the the sign...of course not. :) Beth