The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

And a stroll through the garden

New strawberry leaves

Yesterday, I posted about how the woody perennials are coming along.  Although less riveting, the vegetable garden is definitely springing to life as well.

Of course, perennials and over-winterers wake up long before new seedlings make much of a showing.  I've been concerned that my mineral-burned strawberries were worse-off New rhubarb leavesthan I'd first estimated, but it turns out they've simply been running slowly just like everything else this year.  At long last, new leaves are finally starting to turn the strawberry beds green, although flower buds aren't yet evident.

Rhubarb is also growing quickly, with stems nearly big enough to eat.  And I found two beautiful spears in asparagus alley --- too bad those plants were started from seed last year and are off limits for picking until 2014.  Hopefully the older (but more shaded) asparagus plants will start popping up soon.

Weedy garden

The most obvious feature about the rest of the vegetable garden is the grain (probably rye) that came along for the ride in last year's straw mulch.  Mark will have to mow the aisles next week simply to whack back the grain along the bed edges, even though the grass isn't really tall enough to need it.  I've been pulling out grain plants in the beds themselves, which is easy in moist soil.

Jewelweed seedlings

Swiss chard seedlingsAnd even though I probably shouldn't find it exciting, I'm even happy to see the first summer weeds sprouting.  Jewelweed (above) will probably be nipped by a late frost, but it clearly thinks the soil is warm enough to gamble.  My planted seeds (like the Swiss chard to the right) agree and are popping up right and left.

My main task in the vegetable garden in April is weeding and refreshing mulch, which is going much more quickly this year than previously.  Three man-hours resulted in 34 beds of garlic, Egyptian onions, herbs, and strawberries weeded, and then another hour added enough new straw to carry them through until summer.  At this time of year, it's a pleasure to be sinking my hands into the earth, but speedy weeding does give me more time to experiment with other projects.

The Avian Aqua Miser is Mark's invention that has been enjoyed by chicken-keepers across the U.S. and around the world.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I read on a post from Hickery Hollar that they put their straw in with their chickens prior to mulching. The chickens take care of most of the grain seeds. I'm going to try their method this year. I have a large enclosed stall I can put the straw and the chickens into so the hay won't get scatter to the ends of the earth. It's a free meal and fun activity for the chickens. I don't know if I'll save much time, but I'd rather rake hay than pull weeds :-)
Comment by Tee Sun Apr 14 18:53:04 2013

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