I just finished my spring pruning. I started two weeks ago and got the blueberries, one of the roses, the hydrangea, and the forsythia. Oops! The Master Gardner informed me I was supposed to wait until AFTER the flowering shrubs bloomed to prune. Apparently I got over excited when I was cleaning up the side yard. But in my defense, the forsythia looked like it hadn't been pruned in years and years and really needed some of that dead wood cut out..... maybe.
I only got one of the roses the first time around due to the waning light, but last night I failed to finish pruning the big rose for the second time. I would say that this rose has been neglected, but it looks like someone tried to take care of it, but had no idea what they were doing. It's two stories tall!! Someone pruned it to grow straight up, and then tied the stalks to the house so they wouldn't fall over into the yard. There are several branches that are dead in the middle of the knot. I did what I could with my two foot step stool, but couldn't reach the top, oh, five feet of the rose. Add rose pruning to the list of reasons why we need an 8 foot step ladder!
The seed starting has begun!! After getting the grow light set up in the shop room, I started three kinds of kale, broccoli, leeks, romaine lettuce, basil, lemon balm, and marigolds two weeks ago. All but the lettuce have spouted - Maybe the seeds were old? Just yesterday I started my tomatoes and peppers. I knew I needed to cut back this year, so I only started three sungolds (one for Sarah), two nova, one indigo rose, two purple calabash, two saucey, two jalapeno peppers, and two anaheim peppers. Is 10 tomatoes really cutting back? I'm conveniently not remembering how many I had last year. I am sticking to my guns this year and plan to actually snip the second seed in my cells instead of separating and keeping the seedling growing. That will definitely cut back on the amount of final tomato plants!
I recently started on the garden. I found that putting cardboard down over the lamium didn't really do anything to it. When I pulled up the cardboard there was still happy little green sprouts of lamium completely covering my future garden. That means lots of back-breaking work with a hoe... or does it?
I started out near the edge of the grass and started working my way towards the fence. At about 5 feet out I found the edge of the landscape fabric I noticed last time I was working outside. After some muscle flexing, I discovered that there are two 3 foot strips of landscape fabric running along the fence, covered in a couple inches of soils and a bunch of weeds. We were able to pull up the outer strip before we lost the light. If the ground would dry out a bit, and I had a strong helper, I would quickly be able to pull the rest of the fabric and begin leveling out the area in preparation for installing raised beds. I'm currently thinking I will start with two 4x4 beds and try my hand at square foot gardening. This first year will be quite the experiment to see what we can grow in the filtered sunlight.
When I realized I couldn't pull up the heavy fabric on my own last night, I switched to the back corner bed. The bed itself doesn't seem to be in bad shape once the weeds got pulled. However, there are blackberries coming at it from two sides. I think that the corner of my neighbor's yard was once an attempt at a compost pile, but it never got hot enough to kill the weeds and now it's a blackberry haven. The other option is that the corner diagonal from us is overgrown with blackberries and they've taken over the old compost heap. Or a combination of the two. Either way, it will be a constant battle to keep the blackberry suckers from taking over. I'm going to put rhubarb back there, and while the flavors go well together, keep those pokey bushes away from my edibles!!