The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

More Ibuprofen, Please!

May 1st, 2011 · 2 Comments · Posted in garden

Vegetables and greens in full bloom

We don’t normally let our vegetable garden go completely to seed, but this has been a particularly wet spring. Not many opportunities to perform the usual garden cleanup. The rhubarb and arugula and collards have been putting on quite a show. Some of the leftover radishes have become small trees. The parsnips and burdock that overwintered looked like transplants from the Amazon.

But watching flower blossoms form and fade on the kale merely delays the inevitable. With clear weather this weekend, I spent most of yesterday heaving soil and filling buckets with dead soldiers and weeds. The compost piles are building quickly, and my tired old bones are getting a workout.

With a little work, the beds dress up nicely

I spent quite a bit of time on my knees, yanking weeds, breaking clods and working in compost to get the beds to look more like this. As you can see, this year’s greens, planted back in March, are coming along nicely. We’ve now lapped the garden that overwintered from last August. Here I’ve also planted green beans and edamame, and in the bed to the right zinnia, cosmos, sunflowers and calendula.

Cleaning garden beds is also a gleaning opportunity. I hate to throw away anything edible. It pained me to think that parsnips and burdock were left in the ground. But they’ll feed the soil. Elsewhere I collected heaps of Swiss chard and the last of our leeks. They’ve been sauteed and will feed us through the week. Also I pulled a huge bag of salad greens from the arugula and mustard greens that overwintered. They are might strong–just the way we like them–and the flowers are edible, too.

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  • Emily

    Very nice!

    How to you keep the grass out of your beds? How many inches of sod do you have to trim back each year?

  • Ed Bruske

    Emily, I really don’t have to deal with sod around the beds. In the spring, I give a little heave around the beds with my forked spades and yank anything that doesn’t belong–edges included. Then I just keep the edges clipped with a hand shears after I mow the yard. That’s a lot of miles on my knees over a season, but it’s one thing we can do to keep our beds looking nice, short of building raised beds.