Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Seedlings, and seasonal confusion.

Despite the very strange weather that continues to be very unpredictable, and perhaps because of it, seedlings are our focus right now. This weekend was the seedling swap, so you may notice that a lot of our seedlings are gone because we gave them away at the seedling swap this weekend. I'm always happy to be able to share the wealth with seedlings, especially given that it isn't like we came home empty handed. You can see some of the more sensitive seedlings still inside in this photo, but we also came home with a basically full herb garden.

In a further attempt to eradicate our long term foe, the whitecap we put the herb garden that we got in that garden bed. The whitecap is doing just fine BTW, so we're going to be trying thick mulching, and are going to be resorting to some kind of herbicide to keep it from escaping between the stones of the path to the yard. We're in this case probably going to have to use commercial non selective herbicide. One of the interesting things about herbicides versus natural methods of killing something this nasty is the time that it continues killing everything. If you do a salt and vinegar mixture it's going to be in the soil for a long time and require modifying the soil to get the fertility back. Things like Roundup are going to kill what you spray them on, absorb through the leaves, and be safe once they're dry, no longer killing just due to being in the soil. In general I'm very hesitant to use herbicides, but in this case it may be the best option.
I'm really looking forward to having a good herb garden out front though, I like having fresh herbs in our food, though I've gotten fairly used to the dried variety! One of the things we have from last year's seedling swap is chocolate mint. It was planted in direct competition to our whitecap problem, and so far seems to be doing very well! Mint of course is a very hearty plant that is able to survive in just about any environment. Chocolate mint is tough enough to over winter without us having remembered to mulch despite this past winter having very little snow and a lot of cold. This is a plant we're going to have to make sure to eat so it doesn't overtake our garden and become a problem plant as mint can.
Speaking of getting out of control, our volunteer self seeded mustard greens are doing better than just very well. They're completely covering the front garden bed, and they've even ended up in the back yard, and I'm not sure how! I'm assuming that birds ate the seeds from the one we let go to seed last year, and pooped elsewhere in the yard. The upshot of this is that we really need to start eating salad. A lot of salad. That isn't particularly a hardship, but it is kind of funny to see it expanding up the slope and just taking over everything. Even if we want to keep a bunch of it, it's time to do some major thinning or it is going to choke itself out just due to how much there is in one place. I think at this point we're late to get the cool weather plants in the ground, but given the strange weather I'm still going to do it. I'd have said we were going to probably be safe from frost for the next couple weeks, but I'm just going to wait on the 4th of June.

After all, it snowed (a little bit) Sunday night, and we had a light frost last night.


  1. Mint. Oh, my goodness. I planted it one year, and I'd been told that it is a guaranteed take-over plant. I thought to myself, "How bad can it be?" I learned over the next several years that I should have listened to folks who'd told me to keep it in a pot. We had chocolate mint sprouting all over the front lawn until it finally died out. I just kept pulling at it, mowing it down, doing whatever I had to do short of chemical sprays. Never again. Oh, it's a hardy plant, all right. Healthiest stuff I've ever seen!

  2. I did finally manage to kill a mint plant: I planted it in a pot and then ignored it for about 5 years. No watering, no fertilizer, no new soil. Eventually it became so root-bound that it died. And it only took me a serrated knife to cut it up enough to get my pot back!