Busy Week

Rhubarb waking up after a cold winter.
Rhubarb waking up after a cold winter.

 

The weather this week has been what people like to call “unseasonably warm”. Our highs have been between 70° and 80° and lows from 30° to 60° which is very warm for this part of Minnesota in April. Next week, though, the forecast is for cooler and wetter weather so now is the time to get some outdoor work done.

One big project of mine was to build a raised bed for tomatoes. It is almost finished and tomorrow I’ll be putting the last layer of soil and mulch on it. The bed is five feet wide and fifty feet long and about two feet thick. It consists of alternating layers of bedding, soil, and spoiled hay. Here are some photos of the progress.

 

The first layer is sheep bedding.
The first layer is sheep bedding over soil.

 

This view shows the bedding layer, the first soil layer, and the spoiled hay layer. One more layer of soil will cover the spoiled hay. A final layer of spoiled hay will go on top of that.
This view shows the bedding layer, the first soil layer, and the spoiled hay layer. One more layer of soil will cover the spoiled hay. After that the whole bed will be mulched with one last layer of spoiled hay.

 

After the raised bed is built I will be attaching thin sticks of balsam fir to the poles. These will be in a ladder-like arrangement on both sides of the poles and the tomato plants will be trained to grow through them.

Today, I took time off from heavy lifting and planted divisions of red elderberry, clove currant, lilac, black hawthorn, rhubarb, nettle, and Jerusalem artichoke tubers. And I put down the first the first layer of spoiled hay for another raised bed where I’ll be planting summer squash.

 

A clump of stinging nettle plants. These are edible when cooked. They are also larval host plants for the red admiral butterfly.
A clump of stinging nettle plants. These are edible when cooked. They are also host plants for caterpillars of the red admiral butterfly.

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