Garden Update, Part 3

Two weeks after getting all the seeds into the ground, two weeks filled with a balanced mix of sun, rain, and spring warmth, most of the crops are now poking their heads from the soil.

There isn’t much to say about that, yet. Germination takes it’s sweet time no matter how may long evenings we spend at home tending to the scattering of aggressive weed seedlings and tending to the watering and hoeing and everything else that goes along with it.

The most excitement of the week was Wednesday morning. I’d ambled out onto the deck with my coffee and laptop, settled into the moderately cool shade of the pergola, logged into my work email and… found myself distracted by a fluttering, anxious chirping from the garden.

Each year I have a small problem wherein the many birds we attract to our yard with feeders and trees and a pleasant suburban, mostly bird-friendly yard, those birds tend to eat indiscriminately of whatever they can find in that yard, be it the bugs or the food I leave out for them or — about this time each year — the vegetable seeds I’ve hidden in the soil of my garden like a little game for them. Yum!

The solution has been to use a bit of taut netting around the main garden bed where I put the smaller, more delicate seed like lettuce, carrots, etc, and to also protect the peas in a similar way.

They can’t get in, so they give up.

But on Wednesday morning, barely a sip into my coffee, there was a small finch inside the netting, loose but distraught at its inability to escape.

It took me a few minutes, but I loosened one corner of the netting and pulled it back into a gaping opening, then motivated the bird to fly towards that opening by approaching the box from the opposite corner. It was quickly free, and flew off with a few chirps of protest. But it did leave me wondering how determined it must have been to have got inside in the first place.

I mentioned in a previous post that I kept the garden pretty simple this year, aiming to plant less “experimental” crops and more stuff I knew we’d use. That said, I planted a lot of those few crops and planted them thick. The next step over the next few weeks will be to aggressively thin the weaker sprouts from the rows and plots to leave room and resources for the stronger ones.

For example, my cucumbers have at least five plants per mound… which is four more than required.

All that said, one of the saddest developments in the garden is the apple tree. Last year it was white with blossoms, covered to the point that we debated culling some of them to reduce the apple crop. And to our detriment left it alone and wound up with a heap of unused apples rotting in the garden last fall because we simply could not keep up.

This year?

If there are more than three clusters of blossoms on my tree they are hiding where I cannot see them.

Figures. The one year when buckets of apples might come in useful and the tree decides to take a holiday. I’m not sure if it’s a weather thing, an over-pruning thing, or if the tree is just grumpy because we let her crop go unused in a nearby pile.

I don’t think trees have hurt feelings, but at this point I’m not ruling it out.

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