Our 2021 garden: unexpected things

Yesterday, one of my goals was to start on the lawn. We have yet to mow the lawn this year, but with how little rain we’ve had, it’s not really that overgrown. Other than some straw we still have left, we’re out of organic material to layer and mulch with, so it would be good to have grass clippings again. At the very least, I wanted to get out the weed trimmer and do the edges.

Then I got a phone call.

My mother was letting me know my sister was on her way to visit her, and they were planning to go to the cemetery, which is just a few miles away from us. They were planning to come here, after.

*sigh*

We had talked about this possibility just the day before, so I can’t say it was too unexpected, but I had advised against doing a cemetery trip when we were supposed to get so very hot again. She also knew that I like to have a lot more notice before visits, so we can be prepared. My mother actually sounded apologetic when she was telling me they were coming over, and added that she was good with not going into the house if we didn’t want her to. Which isn’t the problem, but whatever.

So the girls did a quick rush to try and prepare things, like making sure everything was clear from the sun room doors, though the old kitchen, to the bathroom (so my mother wouldn’t have to use the main doors, with all the little sets of stairs), while I quickly used the weed trimmer around the yard, between the main garden beds, and a few other places that I thought my mother might want to get at with her walker. I had thought to move the picnic table to a shady spot in the south yard, but my daughter reminded me that, when we moved it to where it is now, after it was painted, it was pretty rickety, so it probably couldn’t handle being moved so far, again. So she set up some camp chairs in the shade, and we used an overturned bin for a table. 😀 My mother and sister had even brought some fried chicken, so we had ourselves a picnic lunch in the shade, before touring the yard and garden beds.

When they arrived, my sister passed me something my mother had for me. At her apartment building, they have garden plots available. My mother doesn’t do much gardening herself anymore, but she does tend the perennials that had been planted by some of her friends and neighbours who have passed on. The caretakers, unfortunately, have a habit of digging everything up at the end of the year, including a bush my mother described as having beautiful yellow flowers, followed by black fruit. She had no idea what it was; it was planted by someone who passed away some years ago. No one ate the berries, but it was lovely, and the caretakers dug it up and got rid of it. This spring, while tending some plants, she noticed that part of the bush had survived. Not wanting the caretakers to kill it off, she dug it up and put it in a pitcher with some soil. She wanted to give it to me to plant somewhere near the house. We have a grocery shopping trip arranged next week, and I was going to get it then, but with my sister coming over, they were able to bring it over early.

I’m pretty sure it’s a currant, though my mother says it’s different than what we have here. My sister, who is the one that gave my mother the currants that are here, thought it might be a gooseberry. Whatever it is, I made sure to transplant it as soon as things started cooling down a bit. I picked a spot right near where we’d had our picnic lunch. There is a flower bed with white lilacs taking up about half of it. After it was cleaned up, a couple of years ago, we were left with an empty spot that I decided to take advantage of.

I scraped away the wood chip mulch we’d put in, first – it was about 3 inches deep – and started digging. I had to shift the hole a few times, after hitting tree roots, but after clearing out a few bigger rocks, I finally had a space I could transplant into. It was bone dry. We don’t water this bed regularly, but I have been trying to water the lilacs and a low growing plant with variegated leaves I like. From how dry the soil was, you’d never know it had been watered recently! So I filled the hole with water, then got a wheelbarrow load of new garden soil.

After transplanting it into the hole with fresh garden soil, I put back some of the mulch and gave it another thorough watering.

So we now have a new, unplanned, fruit bearing bush in the yard. 🙂 Hopefully, it will survive.

Backtracking a bit; my mother and I had talked about her coming out to see the gardens later in the season, when things were more grown in, but she got a bit of a tour yesterday. I did appreciate her very visible efforts to not say anything negative, which is usually the only thing she’ll say. I think it’s a generational thing, or maybe a cultural thing, but my mother seems to believe in NOT saying positive things. Like it’s somehow bad to compliment people or something. I suspect it has to do with believing it would lead to pride or something along those lines, though I doubt that’s in any way on a conscious level. She did, however, manage a backhanded compliment on how healthy the garlic looked! So that’s progress. 😀

She was not up to taking the walker to the furthest beds, of course, but my sister did, with her ever-present camera, and she got lots of pictures. It was a long day for my mother, so they left almost immediately after touring the yard. Going to the cemetery, then coming here, was probably too much for her. 😦

After I’d taken care of the transplant my mother gave us, I started hearing thunder. We’ve been having thunderstorm warnings for a while, but they kept getting pushed back. We were hoping to at least get some rain! I could see the storm clouds, and the wind was picking up, so I brought our hardening off transplants back into the sun room early, and we even shut down our computers, just in case.

We got nothing. Not even a spit of rain.

By 9:30pm, I finally went back outside to water the garden beds. The rain did finally come, but not until about 5am this morning.

When I headed out to do my morning rounds, it was still raining! A lovely, steady rain. I got completely soaked. 😀 So no pictures this morning. 😉

While checking the garden beds, I had some more unexpected surprises. The sweet corn is coming up already!! New shoots, in all three corn blocks. I also found more Hopi Black Dye sunflower sprouts, but also some Mongolian Giant sunflowers have already sprouted! Clearly, they are loving our heat wave. The bush beans, meanwhile, are coming up like crazy. The purple ones are still a bit slower in coming up than the yellow and green beans, but once they do come up, the sprouts seem to be leafing out faster than the others.

I’m finding it awesome that so many things we direct sowed is sprouting already. We haven’t even finished putting out our transplants, yet! 😀

Of course, while checking the garden beds this morning, I was looking for deer damage. When I’d watered last night, I tied some plastic grocery bags onto a couple of the stakes supporting the Mongolian Giant transplants, as a noisy deterrent. Happily, there was no new damage.

Then I checked the trail cam.

There was one file triggered during the night. Off in the shadows, a single deer could be seen, walking through! It looked like it was going down the path between the corn/sunflower blocks, and the pea/bean beds. It didn’t stop or pause, but kept walking towards the spruce grove.

Today, I’m moving the camera again. I think I know where the deer came in, but there are a couple of places they like to jump the fence, and I want to cover both possibilities, if I can, and see if there are any other areas they might be coming through.

We shall see what the weather does today. Today’s expected high is “only” 25C/77F, with scattered showers. Which means we will probably not be able to use a power drill, with its 300 ft or so of extension cords, to finish assembling the squash tunnel. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the summer squash in, though we might have to prioritize the Montana Morado corn. At least the place they will be planted is right next to what’s left of the pile of garden soil. We might end up having to use soil from the pile in the outer yard to finish transplanting. The good thing is, we actually have that second pile!

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

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