Saturday, April 25, 2009

dog days of april....

I picked the Saturday in April that felt like August to move 2 yards of top soil into my new raised beds. The temperature reached 86 degrees here in southeastern Pennsylvania, and while the humidity was comfortably low (around 75%), it still was not the ideal day to move at least a ton of soil mix via wheelbarrow to the new raised beds. But the dump truck backed into my driveway at 8AM this morning, and I have never met a pile of anything that I couldn't tackle in a day.

But first I needed to build a couple more raised beds that I had been procrastinating for the last couple weekends. It took about an hour to build these two 10 foot by 2 1/2 foot beds from some salvaged cedar boards I had been saving for just this purpose.

Then it was time to fill these new beds and the deep raised bed I made a few weeks ago with the top soil and mushroom soil mix waiting in the driveway. It took me about three hours to fill the new beds, and I had about a third of the pile left over that I moved to the back corner of the yard to use in the tomato bed as a top filler in a few weeks when it is time for the summer garden to be planted.

That tomato bed is now filled with cold weather crops such as Arugula, Bok Choi, Spinach, and Mesclun Mix. They didn't look very happy in the withering heat today, and it looks like they are going to have at least another four days of temperatures in the high eighties. Hot spells in late April make it very tempting to get an early jump on the summer garden. But one thing that many years of gardening in the Mid-Atlantic states has taught me is to be patient. The best rule of thumb for planting summer vegetable plants is to wait until after Mother's Day. This heat wave will surely pass, and we will have more than a few chilly nights yet in the next three or four weeks. My new beds are ready to go, and that is such a good feeling.

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