Not deferential enough: Is it spring yet?

Posted Sunday, May 4, 2014 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: Is it spring yet?

by Gina Hamilton

Is it spring? Well, it's hard to know. By this time last year, we were putting plants in the ground. This year, we've deliberately kept things slow, because we're not sure whether we'll get a late frost or not. So we've spent the early part of the spring amending the soil in a big way.

We're farmers of raised beds, primarily, and that means that we must often amend the soil. We do this through a combination of our own compost, some organic composts/fertilizers, such as well rotted manure, some green manure, and some marine composts, such as lobster compost.

The process takes time and it's not for the squeamish. Dealing with chicken manure and steer manure and rotting fruits and vegetables is enough to make any sensible person gag, and my husband is more sensible than I am. Which means that I handle the manure part and most of the earthier bits of the decomposition process, and he handles sweeping up the leaves, and putting the prepackaged stuff on the beds.

And add to the time factor the fact that it's been cooler than usual and the compost isn't cooking like it should be, and what we've got is a slight delay in seed-time.

And when you delay seed-time, you delay harvest as well.

We bought a used rototiller Monday, and my immediate thought is that I will need to buy a cheap pair of kiddie training wheels for the thing and glue them on. Otherwise we will have to hold it up, and neither of us have the arms for that. But Chris didn't seem to have much of a problem with it today, so perhaps it's just me.

Also delivered today was a couple of yards of screened loam to build up the beds from our friend Jason Shaw, over to Woolwich. Jason had just delivered our new driveway last week, which is much easier to drive on.  It's been a rough winter, have I mentioned that?

Some of the loam will go to help me build up the area around the duck pond, which will be toward the back of the property. I'll be using some of the pulverized retaining wall as the base, then some boulders around the sides, building up the side of a small berm and adding a wee waterfall using a solar pump.

The chicks and the ducklings themselves arrive next weekend, but they'll be in a warm brooder box for a bit inside. Once they've started feathering up a little, the chicks will go to live with Mehitabel the Outcast Chicken, and the ducks will go to live in what will become the duck house at night, and roam about during the day and ultimately paddle about in their wee pond.

Come winter, we'll cover both the duck house and the new chicken coop with plywood around the sides and back and plexiglass in the front, which should keep everyone warm.

But we're not going to go there. Not yet.

The new roses have been planted in their containers; they're outside, close enough where I can whisk them back in if the weather seems like a frost is coming. I haven't moved the citrus trees out yet, either, although it is my intention to do so soon. Perhaps this weekend.

I think it'll all be all right, but things took a long time to improve. Let's hope everything goes smoothly from here on out.

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