Thursday, April 17, 2008

If winter comes...

...can spring be far behind? Oh yes, definitely. I remind myself that Western Washington is blessed with a mild climate, that we are so much better off weatherwise than many people, including my daughter in Fairbanks, Alaska. But still, here we are half-way through April, and they're predicting snow this weekend. Many local people have warned me not to plant before May 1, and I'm happy I took their advice.

Oh, there are plenty of signs of spring. The trees are blossoming and putting out new leaves, and the daffodils and hyacinths in my front yard seem to perk up again after each frost. And of course the neighborhood deer are out nibbling everything in sight.

Speaking of deer, we've decided that the only way to protect the garden and our baby fruit trees is with eight foot fences. We found they jump six feet easily, when there are tasty green beans or baby apples on the other side. Son Jon is adding poles and stringing wire to get our protection high enough. Maybe we'll get to eat a few apples and cherries this year.

The soil here is rocky, mostly glacial gravel, so not conducive to growing root vegetables. Oddly enough, the ubiquitous moles plow through it with impunity. The plan to solve both problems is to make raised beds--big wooden boxes with chicken wire on the bottoms. We're setting the boxes in the orchard, between the trees. I have a pretty good pile of compost going, and will fill in with purchased topsoil. It seems a lot of time and money to invest for a few vegetables, but I'm hoping that once the system is in place, it can be easily maintained.

I'm already dreaming of crisp cucumbers and vine-ripened tomatoes.

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