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April 26th, 2018

Last October, we had a big wind storm come through and blow down a few trees below the house. It snowed not long after they came down, so they sat entombed in snow and ice until spring arrived. Since the grass will start growing soon, cleaning up these trees is at the top of the list. I’ve been spending a few hours each day raking up the pine needles, picking up the pieces I can carry, and building a dead hedge in another spot.

Being such huge trees, they came down with a lot of force. There are so many branches and sticks jammed into the soil. Some of them I can pull out, a few of which were jammed about a foot into the ground. There are some that are so wedged in that I can’t pull them out, they’re stuck. Seems like overkill to use the tractor to get out such small pieces, but that’s going to be the easiest way to get them out.

As you can imagine, cleaning up three downed trees has added a few extra things to my spring cleanup list. It’s nice to be able to get out and finally start soaking up some sun and working in the yard. Of course, I’d much rather be working in the garden than picking up sticks, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.

What spring cleanup chores are you not loving right now?

Spring Cleanup

April 16th, 2018

Now that the snow has melted (for the most part) and the ground is starting to thaw, the means spring cleanup is in full swing. By far, the biggest chore in the spring is raking all the gravel out of the lawn. Plowing all the snow we get, results in loads and loads of gravel being deposited in the lawn. It’s hard graft raking it out, but it needs done as early as possible in the spring so as to not smother the grass.

This winter was especially bad because we had a few thaws in the middle of winter. That means the driveway gets soft and more of it is scooped up and left in the lawn with the piles of snow.

It’s a big chore, typically it takes me 8-10 hours to get it finished. I usually work on it for an a hour a day or so until it’s finished. This week, I was able to dedicate 4-5 hours to it, so I’m really close to finishing it up. Once this chore is done, it’s time to move on to cleaning out the gardens of all the dead plant material. I will also be adding layers of compost & mulch to most of the garden.

What’s your biggest spring cleanup chore?

What a Mess

April 15th, 2015

I rarely clean up the gardens in the fall, I like to leave the plant material for insects and the seeds for the birds. That means I have extra work to finish up in the spring before I start planting. The soil in the potager is thawed, I should take a thermometer out there and check the temperature. There’s a nice flat of lettuces under the grow lights that are perfect for planting, they just need hardening off.
potager 1
potager 2
There are plants that need cut back, pine boughs that need removed from hydrangeas, leaves that need raking, and lots of chicken holes to fill in.
potager 3
potager 4
I noticed the chives, tarragon, and thyme are waking up. The catnip is also coming up nicely, the cats have already been enjoying it as snacks in the afternoons.
potager 5
potager 6
The weather looks to be beautiful this week. I need to put up a fence to keep the chickens out and then get to work clearing out, raking, and adding compost to this garden. Soon enough it will be lush with growth.

Do you clean out the garden in fall or wait until spring?

Friday Favorite: Spring Cleanup

March 18th, 2011

There’s something especially exhilarating about spring cleanup in the garden. I think it has something to do with us Northerners being cooped up in our houses for the long dark months of winter. When we have a few nice warm sunny days, spring cleanup begins in the garden. I always wait until I know really hard freezes are over, as I’d hate to uncover my perennials only to have them freeze again on a cold night.

Yesterday was perfect, sun, blue skies, high around 60 – simply perfect. I spent the morning inside working and then made my way outside around 1 when it had warmed up and the sun was high in the sky. It sure was nice to feel the sun on my back as I cleared the leaves out of the flowerbeds, unwrapped the hydrangeas and weeded the raised beds.

I especially love peeling back the leaves that mulched the beds throughout the winter and seeing the soil teeming with life. I saw tons of spiders, worms, beetles, wooly bears, caterpillars, grubs and all sorts of creepy crawlies. I’m happy to see each and every one of them, including those giant wolf spiders, because I know each and every one of them, whether good or bad, plays an important role in my garden.

What’s your favorite garden chore in the spring?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.