Late Spring Garden Chores

We had AMAZING weather today, 70’s and sunny with a little breeze.  While my husband took our two youngest to the beach, my oldest (in disgrace, needing to make amends) daughter stayed home to help me with chores.  (In return for missing the beach outing, she got to play with her cousins tonight while her dad and I went out.  Otherwise, she would have run errands with us.  Boooring!)

She and I weeded bushels of weeds (mostly clover and wild mustard garlic, an invasive species around here.)  We mulched the strawberry patch and the potato can with straw.  I pulled up the 2011 swiss chard (it finally started bolting!) and we planted zucchini in its place.  I planted pole beans (calypso, royal purple pod, and scarlet runner) around my corn sprouts, and a few clusters of vine squash every few feet in the same patch- this is traditionally called a “Three Sisters” garden bed.  The beans will use the corn as a trellis, and the pumpkins will act as a living mulch to shade the ground (which will keep moisture in the dirt!) and to suppress weeds.  I’ve heard these can look VERY untidy, but I’ve never done it before!

I planted the corn a few weeks ago, to give it a head start before the beans start to climb.  Also, corn has an anti-germinant in the seed: other seeds won’t sprout if they’re near a corn seed.  (Which is why you can scatter fresh corn meal on the ground to stop weed seeds from sprouting, so I’ve heard.  A useful thing to scatter under a bird feeder!)  I built a another one of my quick hoop houses with wire fencing, Reemay permeable row cover, and binder clips, to try and keep the birds out of my seeds and raise the temperature a bit.  Our crows are fearless this year- I can’t leave my basket of seed baggies outside for a few minutes without someone tearing through and eating everything!  I lost some bean seeds, all my butternut squash seeds, and some pumpkin seeds.  My nephew lost his sandwich the other day, though, when he walked away to play with a ball.  Poor guy!  Now my girls start screaming “CAW CAW!”  every time they see a crow get near.  Knowing how long crows can hold a grudge (through multiple generations, long past the life of the original bird you offended) I’m a little leery of frightening them too much.  So I’ll just try and safeguard my seeds!