Bright, Light Green Leaves Are Forming On

Bright, light green leaves are forming on the tips of the blackberry vines, in front of the dark green ones that overwintered. The cranberry color of the vines, like the color of manzanita branches, is enjoyable all year long. The gray, silver, tan and brown vines that have died provide support for the newly forming vines, keeping the tender tips up off the ground and away from the slugs, sow bugs and earwigs that would eat them. It allows the plant to stretch out above ground and shade their perimeter, to keep weeds from using the water and nutrients that they need. Earwigs can be a big problem in vegetable gardens but I don’t have very many. I think it’s because of the wash I built next to the fence that harbors all the blue belly lizards. On hot summer days, when I find a lizard sunbathing on a garden path, I will sometimes find an earwig and toss it in front him. After four or five earwigs the lizard gets full and scurries back to the wash for an afternoon nap 🙂

I can’t believe I planted corn already. I was thinking about how to protect the corn patch from the new puppy zoomies. I decided I could put some left over hoop tunnels over the rows and then I could just throw a piece of plastic over the patch if we were predicted to get a freeze. A light bulb went off over my head and I realized if I put the plastic on now I would have a mini greenhouse one foot tall over the patch, and no reason whatsoever to not plant now. Viola, I’m now two weeks early with my corn and no chance of frost damage. When they germinate in 7-14 days i will have to vent the plastic or I’ll cook the sprouts. Then when I remove the plastic mid May I will have to remember to UV acclimate them, but I’ll get the earliest corn on the block 🙂

The patch of ground I occulted last fall, with all the tomato and zucchini plants piled on top, has turned out spectacular. Mice got under the tarp and rototilled some of it for me. The largest of the tomato stems and the hardest fibers of the zucchini stalks were all that was left. It was easy to rake the debris off, and I marveled at the rich dark soil. I will repeat the process next fall because it’s such an efficient and convenient way to recycle garden waste. So long compost pile. All the garden waste generated in the summer, that’s not used as much, will be relegated to an area that I can cover in plastic. I might have a summer occulted patch as well as a winter one. I’ll cover the exposed dirt of my latest patch with decomposed stall cleanings, which I used to call compost, and let it cook down for a month. It should be ready for squash and melon plantings by then.

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