Today was a beautiful, sunny day here in Portland. I love days like this! I must say that we’ve had an unusual winter, and with spring on the way things start getting really busy! I haven’t even had time to scout the garden for signs of spring! I have one photo to show you, however, that tells me the sun’s angle is changing- that means spring!
I know this is an odd photo, let me explain. This is a wall in my living room. Now the wall is painted with an ‘old world’ sort of treatment using paint and glaze, which makes it a little difficult to capture this. This wall is opposite our front door, which has a peep hole, like any other door. When the angle of the sun gets just right, the sun makes a really neat pattern, through the peep hole, and onto my wall. I wish I could capture what it really looks like- It is sort-of close. At certain times it’s really big, and it’s gone in minutes, so I have to be quick. Ah, spring!
This last weekend, well Saturday at least, I managed to work on one of my new beds. The wind was awful, but it didn’t rain. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was completely nuts attempting to get the tunnel done. They’ve seen worse, I’m sure! By the time I was done for the day, I was freezing, and my back hurt. I managed to get 1 bed almost completely done.
I dug out a pathway on the left side and took that soil to add to the bed. I mixed up a batch of compost, greensand, rock phosphate, blood meal, a little lime, and some worm poo and added that to the top of the bed. I also took a pitch fork and pierced the soil down as far as I could, rocking the fork back and forth, to add some air. I was amazed that I could even work in this area- and if I hadn’t covered it with cardboard and mulch, I think last year, It probably wouldn’t have been workable. I made sure by doing a little moisture test. I make a ball, a little bigger than a golf ball, and if it breaks apart easily by putting my thumb in it- it’s a go! This area is pretty compacted, however, and I’m a little worried that not digging down may be a problem...we’ll see. My back really can’t handle all that digging! There were lots of worms, so that’s a good sign!
The soil is nice looking, so we’ll see how the crops do.
At the end of the day, the tunnel needed only the last bit of it done. I threw on the plastic, in case it rained, and called it good. The tunnel still needed some adjustment, but I had the wires in place and unless we have very strong winds, it should be okay.
I’ve highlighted the area in the next photo, where the wires go, so you can see how it holds the plastic on. The plastic is sandwiched between the wire and the wire hoops- 9 gauge, I believe. I hope you can see what I mean :)
The wire is run through loops made at about soil level in the hoop wire.
This is the best loop I could make without the muscle around!
They may get in my way in the paths, so I may have to redo them! Instead of making the loops, you could drill a hole in the pipe that’s in the ground- that would work too. I like having the loops there to secure the plastic more, if needed, with clothes pins. In any case, It’s enough to cover my bed for now, which is all I wanted, so the rain doesn’t pound down on the soil. I could have done a much better job cutting the plastic too- it should sit right at soil level- no need to bury it, that is the beauty of the chenille. Eventually, I’d like to cover the wire with PVC tube- that would be ideal. And maybe run a piece of wire down the center, so the hoops will hold up better in rain and wind. I got my graph paper out to design something better, but for now what I have has worked nicely every time I've used these- there is always room for improvement, however!
Today, I finished digging the rest of the path out and added the soil to the last little bit of the tunnel I didn’t finish Saturday. I fixed the tunnels so they’re more even. I think this week I’ll sow some radish and spinach and set some of that lettuce out. As you can see, venting it is a snap! All that’s left is some clean up :)
In other news...the tomato needed to be potted up one size.
It’s really hard to get a good shot with the lights I’ve noticed- at least with my camera :(, or maybe at least with this user of the camera ;)
I also up-potted the Black-eyed Susan.
I put them out in the greenhouse- just for the day. They’ll spend the night inside for a while. I made that mistake with the Cypress Vine- they still aren’t happy with me!
I also put the broccoli outside in a tunnel to harden off. I think I may have lost one...unless it’s really tired and decided to take a nap! I think I might leave them in the greenhouse tonight in an area that is double protected, and has a heat mat.
I hope you all had a great weekend and as usual...