Monday, April 22, 2013

First plantings and turnings of the year

It's late April, and things have warmed up enough for us to work on two vital homestead tasks: planting and compost turning.

It's still too cold to plant much, but we can start off with hardy (and essential) garlic.  Ceredwyn took to our southern plot, digging it up then planting bulb after bulb.
The board is a pathway between two plots.
Once we harvest the garlic we can turn those plots to other crops.

Ceredwyn also planted more flowers around the homestead.  Not only will they look nice, but also attract pollinating insects and birds, hopefully speeding the growth of our food plants.

Meanwhile I turned each of our (three) compost piles.  The two older ones are mostly fine-looking dirt, just in time for us to use.  The younger pile - just one year old - is also the hugest, about five feet tall now:
Note the cage of branches, which we use for all of our piles.
As April finishes up and May kicks off, we'll start putting down the compost for potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and squash.  Half of the northern plot is new to cultivation, so the compost will be especially needed.

It is splendid to work outside on the earth after so many frozen months.  To use shovel and pitchfork, to pry rocks out for use on our stone walls, to watch the dog plash into a pond, or see the cats ruthlessly stalk very noisy birds - it's a huge rush of springtime, of rewarding physical effort.

And yet I can't help thinking of the growing season's end, of chilly October and the retreat of the sun.  I feel as if I'm holding this short, precious time in my hands, and must work speedily - and with care - while I can.

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