Sunday, April 11, 2010

Freebees, pests, frosts?

"A weed is something growing where it isn't wanted," is an old saw that I've been rewording this week into, "One person's pest is another's freebee." Strawberries are beginning to become a pest in my yard, but I look at the flowers that blossomed today with mouth-watering anticipation. Several folks pulled some strawberry plants yesterday, but there are more in a pot on the right of my from steps at 56 Gordonhurst Ave. Helpyourself to its contents. On the left side of the steps are two 3-paks of impatiens with 6 seedlings in each.

A much more serious pest is the woodchuck that my next door neighbor saw in his back yard. If anyone wants to take him, please feel free to do so. I watch my inch-high pea seedlings with entirely different emotions this year than ever before. I used to look at them with unmitigated joy, anticipating their growth and my harvest. This year I find myself wondering if I have committed them to a sudden early death. It occurred to me today that I don't have to put as many peas as usual into the soil this year. I don't HAVE to freeze 70 servings of sugar snaps. Brilliant insight! It reminds me of that old Pennsylvania Dutch saying my grandfather liked so much. "Ve grow too soon alt und too late schmart."

I used my newfound freedom this afternoon to dig compost into a plot, sow new lettuce and Hakurei seeds there, rake them in, and water it with my watering can. Much more satisfying than planting more peas!
Alas, the lettuce can fall victim to the woodchuck (or even a rabbit), but it's only a few weeks' eating, not the whole season. The Hakurei has been, apparently, molested by the skunks which usually dig between plants for grubs at night. They are very considerate with the tomato plants, but don't seem to perceive that the Hakurei turnips are there. Oh, well, I can transplant the overabundant ones to the empty spots.

At least I think those holes that appear in the mornings are due to skunks searching for grubs, which my garden is better off not having, because my mentor Bob McLean tells me so. Some of you have visited his garden diagonally across the street from mine. If you want to see it, you can ask during Open Gardens (9-11 on April 24 and May 22) and sometimes it is available. Bob told me recently that he began gardening in 1930, so he has lots of experience. (No, that's not a typo!)

We have not had frost later than this the past five springs. Does that mean I can take of the WOWs and plant out my other tomato plants? How I wish I had a definitive answer to that question! Alas, human perception of the future is imperfect.


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