Thursday, April 16, 2009

Playing in the Dirt

It's a lovely early spring day and the temperature is already 55 in the shade. The daffodils are in bloom.

I'm headed out to till one-quarter of my vegetable garden and plant my cool weather crops: the radishes, spinach, lettuce and peas. Well, if I have any pea seed left, that is. I'd planted a bunch a few weeks ago and it was so cold, they never germinated.

This weekend, I'd like to get the potato sets in the ground, too. And I'll see if I can locate my old, black soaker hose to snake around the garden for seepage watering, which reduces the chance of disease taking hold. That's why a soaker hose is a better idea than watering from overhead with a hand-held garden hose. Mother Nature, of course, I can't control.

I'm looking forward to tracking my expenses and produce yield as the season progresses. I spent quite a bit of money already, mainly on a sturdier vinyl-covered metal fence, plus the 7-foot-high posts.

I'd been planning on relocating my two bluebird boxes. They have both been home to successive pairs of wrens, and last year, a pair of bluebirds. But one is a little too close to the vegetable garden and I figure the birds might enjoy a little more privacy; the second box is in a rather overgrown spot. Before I had a chance to move either one, I spotted bird activity around the entrance to the one box, and with binoculars I could see it was a pair of English sparrows. I thought maybe I'd seen them chasing another bird away, but I couldn't be sure.

I took the box down and won't put it back up until the weekend, when hopefully that pair of sparrows has moved on elsewhere. My property's been blissfully English sparrow and starling-free for most of my 14 years here, and I'd like to keep it that way.