The Cat & Chicken Show, But First we Till
The Californian’s March to-do list:
* Plant summer blooming bulbs, tubers, etc.
* Fertilize trees & shrubs
* Feed your roses and don’t forget a handful of Epson salt.
* Harden off and set out seedlings
* Plant potatoes
* Prune old growth off the bougainvillea (if you have one. Thankfully, I don’t.) Taken from http://gardening.about.com/od/springinthegarden/a/MarchGarden.htm.
A week ago, my son, EldestChild, came over to help dig up the plastic mesh in my back yard in order to prepare it for raised garden beds and planting. While I am too far behind on planting if I want to grow anything this summer, the preparation and work still needs to be done. Apparently, I will have to wait for the next season for the bulk of my planting, but if I hurry, I can buy already seeded plants from the nursery. I only want heirlooms. That is what we intend to grow so we can save and cure our own seeds.
What I discovered after I moved in to my new (to me) home:
About 3” under a layer of dirt, dead lawn and some very prolific, thorny weeds lays a web of strong plastic mesh that had survived who knows how many years of neglect. Presumably, some sod manufacturers (for lack of a better term) used this mesh to hold the sod together to transport and roll the stuff out. What a waste. Why they don’t make this stuff decomposable is beyond my understanding. “Fine,” we thought, “we’ll just roll up the old sod and remove the mesh.” Easy, no? And that’s what my son intended to do. He worked in the backyard for quite a few hours while I transported TheYoungOne to her music lessons and ran errands. When I got back, EldestChild had some news: there was not only one layer of plastic mesh, but about five inches under that was another layer of the stuff, and just as firmly held together.
We held a council. EldestChild said he could find some help (if I was willing to pay a tiny sum) and with a few extra guys, dig up all those layers of dead sod, dirt and remove the plastic mesh by hand and shovel. Or, as my neighbors suggested, use a rototiller, stopping frequently to remove any webbing that became entangled on the tines. Please don’t lecture me on this, but I opted for the latter, even though EldestChild maintained (and I agreed) his way was the better way. Saturday, we lightly rototilled the entire back yard once, and a do-over will happen once the rain lets up. I think it may even be possible to pull that heinous plastic webbing out after the soil, sod, weeds and rocks are all loosened by the tilling.
Also growing in this backyard are some of the most lovely, and thorniest roses I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. And, growing in a spot that would be the perfect location for a dwarf fruit tree is a shrub that produces a messy plethora of inedible berries. All of these things must go. I may decide to have a plant sale come the next bare root season.
The chickens had a heyday with some leftover tater tots I gave them as a treat that next morning. This isn’t food I normally feed to them, but an occasional indulgence won’t do any harm. My cat watched them eat their treat from the other side of chicken coop fence. I saw her poke her head through the fencing once then retreat. Wondering what she was up to, I continued watching the show, and to my delight, she poked her paw through the fence, snagged a tater tot and swiftly ran off with the stolen goods in her mouth. Who needs television when you have a show like that?