Spring has most definitely sprung, although not quite as expected. As I have discussed with several gardening TIF-ers, the daytime temperatures are already much too hot for early May. The spring rains arrived as expected, but for several weeks now they have barely wet the surface of the ground. What we need is not windy bluster nor liquid sputter, but those early planting season all day soakings to kick off growing season. Sadly we’ve had none to date.
Defying nature’s early season threats, I have already planted many summer crops and resorted to extra mulch to help retain precious moisture. The mulch is organic shredded bark and was delivered by a local contractor via small dump truck for $120. There seems to be more than enough to use in both the garden and the flower beds around the house. With the garden soil principally consisting of dense rocky clay, the addition of the mulch should help to amend the growing environment for future years.
The fruit trees have begun production for later in the summer despite the lack of rain. The apple trees appear to have appreciated the good pruning they received last year and have exploded with what will be an abundance of applesauce, vintage 2015. However, similar to last year, a late frost appears to have stunted the flowering of the ornamental Bradford pear trees and our previously very productive kiwi plants. There is always next year, though that is what we said last year.
The blueberry bushes, which are actually more tree than bush, are now covered top to bottom in berry beginnings, having finished their flowering. When in bloom, the blueberry blossoms attracted every size, shape and color of bee in the neighborhood. Talk about bees in our bonnet. Last fall we cleared out competing brush and plants from around the blueberries and now they are rewarding us for our labor of love.
In between planting, feeding, watering, mulching and talking to the plants, I’ve grabbed Cog from his busy work to evaluate our upcoming projects. That’s code for, “I’m making him a new honey-do list.” Honey, I need you to do this and this and that. Nothing says I love you quite like a renewed wedding vow or a refreshed honey-do list. :-)
At the top of the honey-do list is the installation of the manual well pump. Shown below in the image of the new spider house… er, I mean mailbox which houses my small garden tools, behind it is a concrete cylinder which now encases the top of the well. Currently sitting in our basement and awaiting installation is a Simple Pump brand hand pump.
During an emergency this ultra modern stainless steel deep well mechanical pump will allow us to bypass the non-functioning electric well pump and hand pump water to the surface. Rather than being reduced to filling bucket after bucket with water at the well, the Simple Pump will utilize the existing water pipe heading into the house and fill the indoor pressurized water tank, allowing us to use the shower, flush the toilets and fill every sink in the house. Once the Simple Pump is installed, it will replace the cap on top of the well and the concrete cylinder will not be needed any more.
It is amazing how when the weather begins to turn balmy and beautiful, suddenly there are not enough hours in the day to tackle every chore needed and project planned. Happily this is a good ‘busy’, full of productivity and purpose. Full speed ahead and damn the dry weather, planting season has begun and we are even busier than those bees in our bonnet.