Saturday, May 1, 2010

Plant-outs, bugs, and weeds

What a glorious day! May is here indeed. Today I planted out two cucumber plants, two broccolis, two zucchini, one tomato, and 12 impatiens. It was a heart-warming way to celebrate the warm weather.

Also, I can report that my green beans, sown over two weeks ago in the hope of showing them off at last week's open garden, germinated late this week. The corn is beginning to appear among them. I don't remember them taking so long before, but then I haven't had many April open gardens. Carrots have germinated in only one week, but they are hardly noticeable compared to the sturdy bean plants! The winds this week have been very inconsiderate with their floating cover. I don't remember this problem before, but floating cover has floated entirely too much in this week's winds.

It's time to take off excess small apples from your apple tree. If you don't thin them to about 6", leaving at most one in each cluster, your apple tree will strike next year. Mine did last year, and I miss the apples on the off years. I'm trying to edit them appropriately, but it's a tedious job, and the pay-off is 16 months away. Lots of practice in delayed gratification there! I'd rather plant out tomatoes.

The sad news there is that at least one (and probably two) of my tomato plants died in the past week. It can't be the cold because most are fine. The Grim Reaper strikes oddly.

One of you asked about what to do about specific bugs. My basic answer is that I ignore them. I have been known to spray harshly water on aphids, but I prefer lady bugs. Oh! I did buy lady bugs once, mail order, and their descendants seem to be still around. I also bought praying mantis and I still occasionally see them.

Weeds are another matter. They sit still and wait to be pulled. I can see them, and I can get rid of them, trying not to think of Albert Schweitzer's admonition, "Reverence for Life." I've read that he carefully walked around ants in his African mission so he didn't kill any. I'm not THAT reverent toward life, but its miracle does seem amazing to me today.

Still, does anyone else think we have more dandelions than usual this year? They and the trees are the most urgent weeds to pull. If you don't pull the trees while they are tiny, they become much more difficult to remove, in contrast, say, to onion grass, which sits there patiently waiting to be pulled at my leisure. I like dandelions, but I know that if I am to tout a model organic lawn, I mustn't have them. So I pull them as soon as I notice something yellow so that they will not promulgate.

I left some perennial flowers on my front walk with invitations to take them, but nobody did except one family that I personally invited to. At this point there is one pot of Dutch iris (shorter and later than Siberian iris), one of chrysanthemum, and one of swan's neck. I hope they find a new home, but if not, the compost heap will take them cheerfully.


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