The roses have been exceptionally lovely this month, but after the last rain they all need to be deadheaded. Peggy Martin and her trellis leaned way over and will need serious reworking once the ground dries out. I reinforce trellises, even these lovely Austrams, with rebar to increase stability. But it seems to me the wind has been blowing for months now, and lately gusts of 30 mph are not uncommon.
My beloved made the second mowing of the zoysia lawn in front and the odd collection of grasses and broadleaf weeds in the back. He starts the season with a new mower blade and air filter, and a tank of ‘real’ gas. The addition of ethanol to gasoline takes a toll on some mowers, string trimmers and similar engines. Fortunately, there are a few places that can still sell the pure gasoline, and the investment in a 3 g can lasts all summer.
Mesclun has been magnificent for a month now, and the third planting will get us through May at least. All winter, I’ve grown an unnamed lettuce mix that I bought as six pack of crowded plants last fall. In February and again in March, I started seed for Wine Country Mix mesclun, a gift from Renee’s Seeds. The first seeding was done in cells filled with a sterile seed starting mix. I transplanted those into the 10 g containers in my elevated IRG garden, leaving room for the second seeding directly in the pots. This seed mix was made for me – it has spicy and sweet tastes, crunchy and buttery textures.
I’m starting to think I can tell the difference between the various green onion tops that are thriving now, or at least that I can tell the shallot from the rest of them. Those fresh tops make all the difference in most everything I cook. And yes, I do cook – 4 or 5 times a week, for 4 or 5 adults – almost entirely from scratch. People tell me I should write a book, but I’m content texting recipes to my children when requested.
Speaking of cooking, I haven’t baked a shortcake yet this year even though the strawberries have been bearing for weeks. We just eat them too fast! These plants went in the raised beds last October and will be pulled out sometime in June when they stop bearing. I’ll pot up their babies and see if I can get them through the summer for next fall. If it doesn’t work, there’ll be more to buy in time to plant next fall. I have another bed of strawberries that started with a couple of plants given to me by a friend in Corinth. They’ve multiplied, but do not make much fruit this far south. I’ll be doing radio at the Green Market in Corinth in June and plan to give these plants to gardeners there who can make more of them than I can do. It’s a great tribute to Ann, too.
It’s been a few years since the red oak that shaded my house lost the tornado war. The 60 year old tree toppled over, stabbing his sewer system and scraping the cutters off his house. Today one third of the even more massive oak on the other side of that same neighbor’s driveway fell right over as the tornado sirens screamed. It crushed his concrete driveway (which probably compacted the tree roots and compromised them over time) and yes, took the gutters off on that side of his house. He has a river birch tree that leans precariously towards his kitchen window, but I’m afraid to mention it to him for fear he’ll cut down every tree in the yard. They’re all big enough to hit the house or the garage, and after this month, I’d almost understand if he conducted his own version of the ‘Chainsaw Chorus’.