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

Rushing into May

New Swiss chard leaves

Weedy poppiesFour weeks ago, April seemed to stretch out so long and open before me.  An early spring!, I enthused.  More fresh garden produce even earlier --- I could almost taste it.

And now April is pretty much over and I'm just as behind in garden chores as I always am at this time of year.  Yes, despite copious mulch, there's still a need for a lot of spring maintenance.  An unfortunate number of the beds that I direct-seeded this spring, now look like this --- weeds nearly overtaking their contents, itching to be weeded and mulched.

Tomato transplantI figure a solid week of maintenance would catch me right up, but, of course, next week is May.  In case you don't put out a big summer garden, I guess I should explain that May is when we plant a quarter of our crops.  Vegetables slated to go in the ground next week include basil, green beans, sweet corn, cucumbers, mung beans, okra, peppers (transplanted), summer squash, and watermelons.

Since the 10 day forecast looks warm and I started some tomatoes inside early, I'll also be transplanting some of our tomatoes, although I won't put out the last half until after the frost free date.  In fact, I set out two tommy-toes and two slicers Wednesday in hopes of extra-early fruit.

Over-wintered Swiss chard

The good news is that the same warm weather that made the weeds grow so fast has also spurred on my early spring crops.  As you can see in the first photo in this post, this year's Swiss chard is nearly big enough to eat, and we've already taken two cuttings from our tokyo bekana.  That means I can set aside the over-wintered Swiss chard (pictured above) to save for seed and still enjoy fresh greens.

Broccoli and onion

StrawberryWe're floating in a sea of lettuce and arugula and the peas look like they might bloom pretty soon.  Broccoli bounced right back from frost-nipping, and the onions we started from seed are suddenly growing like crazy.

And then there's this strawberry I've had my eye on.  There are only two berries in the whole garden with even a blush of red, and I'm waiting for a sunny afternoon so we can enjoy the most ripe one at its peak.  Do you think Mark would notice if it went missing?  Maybe he was looking forward to this day when he taught me that shared food tastes better.

Our chicken waterer makes it easy to leave home without worrying about your flock.  Unfortunately, I can't help you with the backlogged weeding.

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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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