May 17th: new beds, amending soil, transplanting, greenhouse!

We had to skip meeting on the second Monday in May and so came together again after 2 weeks. What a difference! Unfortunately, it was mostly a difference in weed size. We had a lot of digging to do, especially to reclaim some of the rocky, clay-filled corners of the garden that hadn’t been worked before. We also had a lot of amending to do–especially in beds that had been home to greedy potatoes–and in others that are just too full of clay for most plants to absorb nutrients or respirate properly. We added tons of compost to improve nutrients and aeration and a bit of wood ash to raise the pH. Medicinal herbs are far less picky about soil conditions, especially pH, than veggies, but we decided we might as well adjust our slightly acidic soil to give them the best environment possible.

Here’s the whole crew hard at work on those rocky corners and other weedy pursuits.

reclaiming the corners

beginning the shady mint bed

We have 3 beautiful old apple trees that provide wonderful shade for our lunch times. Because many mint-family plants grow happily in shade (and also take over the world a little more slowly), we created a round bed in the center of the apples for lemon balm, skullcap and citrus mint. Skullcap is usually found wild in dappled shade in thin woods, often near water, so we hope the arching apple branches provide just the right cover. It also seems not to get infested with the beetles (never ID’d by me) that seem to like it so well. Lemon balm also tends to get less leggy and spotty and stay more succulent in a bit of shade. The citrus mint is just for pretty and good sun tea. And it IS good! (In the background, you can see the little “flower house” that was also erected today–the handiest little pop-up you’ve ever seen. Many babies will move here from the sunroom to bulk up a little more before being put in the garden.)

putting in the lemon balm & citrus mint

The bed was ringed with rocks, after adding lots of compost and ashes, and some lovely lemon balm  was planted right in the middle. We have babies in the sunroom still, but these plants came from a friend who was…ahem, passing on her abundance (i.e. “it’s taking over–get it out of here!!)

During the hard work of digging, a visitor arrived…and stayed for 10 minutes. Time for a snack break..

winged visitor

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