Prepping the garden beds today took a lot less time and effort than I expected. We only had two hours to begin with. I was having an OCD attack and CRANKY!tired, so I supervised and was busy getting a Vitamin D supplement. Mr. Moon decided half an hour in that I needed to eat and he was cooking for me, so hewashed his hands and we both got some breakfast. Then back to it, digging out dead plants and weeds, aerating soil, and evaluating the dirt.
I didn't get any before pictures, and I'm sad for it because it's a very VISIBLE change! These pictures were all taken at about 11:30am, and the rear of the house faces west-ish. Here you can see the bed on the right, that used to have a couple tomato plants and some garlic, as well as a tiny bush of oregano. Everything got sacrificed to the compost pile, since there wasn't any good compost for using this year anyway. Not pictured, behind it is the shepherd's hooks with upside-down planters.
The left bed got to keep the garlic and oregano and chives it's growing for now, though we may transplant them. It had what we are presuming to be the stems of a long-dead basil plant entangled with the oregano and garlic scapes, all swirled into a nest-like pattern and taking over most of the bed. Some of the dead stems are still inside the plants, but it will have to do for now.
We got both beds aerated and a layer (well, technically two layers) of newspaper down, with a thin layer of new soil on top. The dirt underneath is DARK, rich, and promises many delightful treasures.
The mint bed in the corner is probably staying put for this year, though we may end up transplanting all or most of it to be under the rose bushes. We read somewhere that it helps keep aphids away from the roses, and it will utilize some extra space since the rose bushes don't grow so dense as to make it impossible to grow other things under them. I'm not so sure I want to fight with a rose bush every time I want a mojito though, so I'm hoping to keep a mint patch somewhere accessible, even if it's a container. Whatever happens this summer, Mr. Moon wants to make me a greenhouse of sorts in this corner, putting in a couple shelves and some sort of material that we can keep an area warm enough to keep some herbs alive without bringing them inside, and for seed starts in the spring.
Immediately to the right of the mint patch is this skinny bed along the fence. Pictured here is one half of it, up to a trellis (unpictured, sadly) that is attached a few inches from the fence. These are rose bushes that have gone wild and refuse to flower, so Mum wants them removed along with the rhododendron at the right of the picture. As you can imagine, this bed is just COVERED in pine needles. I'm sure it's been a great mulch, but I need to do some research to find out what that does to the soil, and what will be best to grow here, as she's given me permission to do what I want with it (including move the mint bed over and/or make a bigger greenhouse than the 4x4 the corner would afford us).
This is to the right of the unpictured trellis, a couple rose bushes that still flower and some bush thing that I don't know about but I presume is staying. This is a flower bed, and as I'm just not very interested in flowers I can't seem to bring myself to care much about what happens to it. Mr. Moon is, pardon the phrase, over the MOON! about growing flowers again though, so I have to make sure that I don't monopolize his efforts in the garden for my edibles.
Unpictured across the path from this last one is a bed against the house, with a couple rose bushes that need to be either removed or pruned WAY back, as they are overgrowing the path. Also two blackberry bushes that Mum wants removed, as they take over the entire patch there. I'm thinking about moving at least one of them over next to the mint patch, since it will visually balance the rose bushes a bit. Assuming it can survive the pine tree, that is. As she wants rid of it, I think I'm just going to DO it and see what becomes of it.
Isn't our gnome cute?? He's going to be our garden overseer. Believe it or not, prepping those two beds and cleaning up only took an hour and a half--we were done in 2 hours, right on target, and had breakfast in there too. I was eventually able to get in and help spread the newspaper and dirt around, and it felt nice to be a part of it rather than dictating from the sidelines.
The average last frost date here seems to be up for debate, it's between April 1 or May 14 depending on which gardener or website you ask. We're still planting things into the bed this week though, since we need to do something with the plants we bought, and if we need to throw a sheet on them every night then we will.
Sunday is a break for Easter dinner (luncheon, really), we're having ham and lamb roast with braised leeks, but I'm not sure what else to go with it. Monday and Tuesday we have a bunch of plans for Mr. Moon's days off, and hopefully between all of that we can get these plants mapped out and in the ground!