Whew!

Perhaps spring is really on its way! After the last few weeks of gray skies, snow, and cold temperatures I was starting to feel disheartened, particularly after the single-digit temperatures that blackened the early allium. And then yesterday was perfect! A cool strong breeze in the morning blew the clouds away, leaving strong sun to warm us as we got back into the garden — plus the bees were flying. A huge relief given the long winter; only a few more weeks and there should be nectar flowing.

Given our concern about widespread use of persistent herbicides to target unwanted broadleaf plants in hay and straw fields, we have been scrambling to find a source of fertility that we can trust — horse manure, commercial straw & hay, and urban-generated lawn waste are all out. We hope to find a source of leaves next fall, but this spring we’re experimenting with composting hay from our fields — we held a few large bales back — and built a simple wire cage to start the process.

round one

round one

The stack was inoculated with a bucket of worms + casings from our home compost along with wood ash from the stove, and soaked with water. We’ll turn it and re-soak weekly and, once it’s begun to break down, top dress the beds.

red wrigglers, castings, and some cocoons

red wrigglers, castings, and some cocoons

A fair amount of the narcissus have emerged, as have a small number of giant allium. We dedicated one 100’ bed to the former, and we’re hoping they naturalize aggressively.

Last picture — the bees. I didn’t want to stress them by opening the hive for a full inspection, so I just raised the lid to get a peak. Numbers are low but they were flying yesterday and seemed in good spirits.

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