April is always a hectic month for me. There just aren’t enough weekend hours to complete everything I need to complete in the studio and the garden. Hence, why I am a few days late in posting my April garden update. Unlike last April, however, this year brings high temperatures (scorching actually) and with it high hopes of a bountiful summer.
Last weekend I finished planting everything but the okra and sweet potatoes which will go in in a few weeks. While it was one weekend of work to finish it off, it marked the culmination of lots of planning and work that started back in the fall when I planted a cover crop mix – rye, hairy vetch and pea. The cover crop did not die back like I had hoped because of our mild winter. That meant lots of backbreaking work this spring. Since March I have been cutting it down and trying to kill it so it doesn’t compete the vegetables, but nourishes them. A few good weekly cuttings (on my knees with garden shears) has killed most of it and now the remainder is dying and decomposing – adding good stuff to the soil. Of course the compost pile is happy with its new supply of cuttings.
To finish off the smothering of the cover crop, I laid down some newspaper and then covered it with planting mix. The result is 14 raised beds now prepared for growing the plethora of vegetables I have planned. At least I hope is a plethora. The weekly rain we have had has been helpful in getting things started. As I was weeding the potato, leek and onion bed this weekend, I saw the potatoes were sprouting.
Oh what I joy in seeing those treasures coming up. I think potatoes are by far the most fun things to grow and certainly to harvest. A true treasure hunt.
Last weekend brought early scorching temperatures that brought concern about drought and the dread of daily waterings. There were a few nights I found myself watering the limp seedlings I had planted just days earlier. I am glad that the the weekly rain has returned (for now) and is making things grow, particularly the weeds.
Most people hate weeds. I have found that I have developed a love for them. Ok, love might be too strong of a word, but I do have a new appreciation for what they bring to my life, aside from sore hamstrings. The other day as twilight was approaching, as I was stooped over pulling weeds and the remaining cover crop from the potato bed, I perceived a noticeable change in my mood. Like most days, I was harried from a tough commute that followed a stressful, busy day at work. But the harriedness just seemed to melt away as I pulled the weeds. I felt relaxed and calm. Wow. As much as I love gardening, I never have enough time for it and so I am always trying to fit it in where I can – weeding, planting, harvesting, watering, etc. in the wee hours of the morning or as the sun is setting. In all my years of meditation, I had never experienced so profound and perceptible a shift in my being. Later I entered the house with muddy hands and a big smile, ready close out my day.