Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My pink cardigan! Rambling about the garden, as usual

My new knitted pink cardigan (and a photo for once, thank you Partner)!  I haven't taken it off since I finished it (except briefly for bathing).  I knitted it with a silk/merino blend yarn which I dyed myself;  it feels wonderful.  I'm now knitting another cardigan for myself, glutton for punishment that I am.  The new one is pale blue in alpaca yarn.  I've never knitted or worn alpaca till now, but I look forward to wearing it.

I took a few rosemary cuttings, sowed another load of seeds outside, and discovered the first batch have begun sprouting--always a thrill.  No idea what they are, as I just kind of scattered everything everywhere.  I wanted to try something new:  polyculture.  And I will not be weeding as such;  I'll only cut down large weeds and leave the cut tops to compost in situ, rather than in a traditional pile.  Less work, and hopefully it'll enrich the soil nicely.  I used to throw out all my weeds;  then I started composting them in a pile;  last year I began just "chopping and dropping" them which seemed to work well.

Though to tell the truth, I don't have quite so many weeds as in past years, thanks to the chickens.  Their top three foods:  dandelions, slugs, and grass.  Oh, and my cabbages when they can get them, which probably come in at number one ahead of dandelions.  Right now the chickens are hard at work making me some extra potent fertilizer, which will be distributed to piles for growing vegetables in.  Have I mentioned how much help chickens are when it comes to gardening?  I love those funny little birds. 

Last year I mentioned the possibility of raising meat ducks, but now the idea has come back to raising meat chickens from pullets.  If we can make a separate enclosure for keeping them until large enough to integrate with our egg layers;  and if the cost of pullets isn't too prohibitive, I'm very open to the idea.  I'm almost sure I could kill a chicken to eat.  Almost.

This past weekend Partner very kindly split some old fenceboards for me and I screwed together a rather rickety looking trellis, which he then assisted me to hang on the southern garage wall.  I hope to build another one this weekend;  my plan is to grow vertically up every wall and fence in the back garden:  beans, cucumber, melon, squash, peas, nasturtiums, and anything else I can manage.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Gardening at last, new cardigan

Sorry no pictures again;  I'm fed up with my camera situation. I'll have to pressure Partner into taking some photos for me (or nick his camera to do it myself).

It warmed up a bit from last month though it's still colder than usual.  There are still a few snow drifts lingering on the edges of the village, but there's no snow in our garden or on our street, and the past week has been sunny--albeit with a very cold northern breeze.  But regardless, I scattered seeds with abandon out back last week.  I also put up some very disreputable-looking DIY trellises and planted out my early cabbages and mallow in various places (to grow into tasty treats for chickens).  Seed trays have been shifting from house to garage to patio, to harden off the seedlings, and new seeds have been sown.  I'd say about half of the seed sowing is done.  I can only hope they sprout and grow.  And that the weather cooperates, unlike last year...

I've taken cuttings from my old raggedy sage plant and from my little potted lavender recently, and will take some from my new rosemary (which was a replacement for my last, which was also a replacement--had bad luck with  rosemary!) and my potted geraniums.  Last summer I bought two blackcurrants, one of which appears not to have survived the winter.  Hopefully the other will grow a bit and I'll be able to take cuttings from it too.  I took a couple cuttings from my favorite rose last autumn but only one's still there, and like Schroedinger's cat, I'm not entirely sure it's alive or dead.  However, at the same time I also planted some willow wands (sneakily harvested from the local park) which seem to be not dead. 

Partner and I (though mostly he) tore off the old leaky roof from the garage last month and put up a new transparent roof;  now it's very like a greenhouse.  A greenhouse full of junk and roofing scraps.  I am now considering possibilities for growing in there:  potted citrus, peach, and grape vines are on my mind.  Though not till we clear it out.  For the moment it has seed trays on any free-ish surface. 

Though I need to purchase buttons for it--none in my button stash quite work--I finished knitting my new pink cardigan.  It took me not quite a month to complete and I like it very much.  I'm still in a knitting mood but not quite sure what I'd like to work on next.  I promised myself not to start a new project until I'd finished this one, giving me incentive to complete it.