Catharsis: noun, plural catharses [kuh-thahr-seez] The purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.

It has been an “indoors” sort of winter for me. Bad weather just didn’t encourage me to go outside, and I spent most of my time in my chair – hence my spreading backside! 😉 When we did get a couple of good days, well, as you know if you heard about it, a blizzard came along and put the kibosh to that . . . and it looks like it killed my fruit trees a well. Sigh. So, when the weather changed again, I fell on it like a ravening wolf, ready to drink in great drafts of the outdoors – and gardening!

20160422_134621_resized_1 20160422_134611_resized_1The beds were left with all the dead plants rooted in over the winter. I wanted them to rot as much as possible in the ground, and pulling them up now instead of in the fall means I loosened up the soil when I pulled them. As you see from the photo, I have garlic, strawberry and mints coming up, hooray! They made it through the winter! I have already ‘top dressed’ this bed (spread several inches of composted manure over top) and I have one of the other beds done as well as about a third of the third usable bed. I will hopefully finish that one up later this afternoon. I got really worn out yesterday carrying the heavy mulch so I started filling the roughed out beds with mulch.

I have my seeds I saved from last year, and have added to those. My grow light setup came in, but now I have to figure out where I am going to put it. It is past time to get tomato, pepper, etc. seeds started before it is too late. As the setup is only 4’[Lifetime Warranty] LED Grow Light, InaRock 24W Plant LED Grow Light E27 Plant Bulbs for Garden Greenhouse and Hydroponic Full Spectrum Grow LED Lamps long I am sure I will find a spot, but I have to do it today! I also have two other grow lights that I was given to test by the company I will be setting up today. Click on the photos to check out the listings.

20160422_135033_resized_1As you can see, my manure heap is a lot smaller than it was. I want to get more, but you see, I have this little issue – as in a HUGE pile of chopped up trees in my driveway! LOL (And yes, is my finger in the photo – I took it after a looong day of working in the beds, and I was way tired and sweaty. Hey, want to clean out your pores? Garden! Digging in the soul is not only cathartic for your soul, it is works for your skin as well!) You can see how large the pile is 20160422_134810_resized_1compared to my neighbor’s big ol’ pickup. Cool, huh? Free mulch!! A local tree company was cutting trees in my neighborhood after the blizzard and they were more than happy to dump them in the driveway. No having to haul them away and dispose of the mulch themselves. So, I got two full truckloads.

20160422_134727_resized_1 20160422_134736_resized_1These two beds are going to be filled with the mulch up to the top and left to overwinter. Yes, those are ripped up phone books – the phone company will insist on throwing them in the driveway, though they have been asked not to. Ah well, more paper to rot! 😉 That big branch in the one photo has stumped me. My chainsaw will insist on throwing its chain and trying to take my arm off, and I finally gave it up for a bad cause and that limb will have to go to the pile of brush I have in the back corner of the back yard. Small animals like to nest in there – squirrels and certain birds especially. It is fun having a special habitat back there that is completely wild.

The rest of the mulch, after the boxes are filled, I will spread on the yard to rot. The soil here is horrible – just sand and more sand, which means weeds and more weeds.  I am hoping if I can dump enough mulch that over time it will allow grass to grow. But then, as I am careful of water usage, I would be just as comfortable just having the bark mulch stay in place without grass growing. Hum… we shall see. Of course, I am slowing eating away at the yard anyway. 20160422_134933_resized_1Oh, look! All that lumber is still sitting there, waiting for me to build my cold frame! (Didn’t I say I was going to do that last fall?) But I did find a solid glass door to use for a top (free, of course!) so I am putting together a list of the lumber sizes and figuring out what to use for the standing braces to bury in the ground and screw the sides to. But that is for later in the year.

Off to dig again, and I hope you all find a wonderful way to spend your Sunday as well!

Plant List for this year:

Hungarian Yellow Wax Pepper (medium hot orange-red 4,500-5,000 Scoville heat units)
Pasilla Bajio Pepper (chili negro for dried pods and powders)
Mixed Sweet Cherry Pepper (no named – for pickling)
Sweet Coral Belle Pepper (intense orange/compact and reliable
Pineapple Tomato
Mickylee Watermelon (not heirloom but it is small/8″-10″ so doesn’t hog space)
Cube of Butter Summer Squash (tiny baby squash)
Baby Round Zucchini (French import heirloom)
Cascadia Snap Pea (I haven’t grown peas before)
Sugar Pie Pumpkin (The dogs love dried pumpkin chips, and I love pumpkin bread)
Homemade Pickles Cucumber (I remember these from when I was a kid)
Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach; Ruby Red Swiss Chard; Nero Toscana Kale (I have to tent these so the rabbits don’t get it all!)
Two types of beets, red and golden, no name heirlooms

Saved from last year:
The Papaya Dew melons didn’t work out for me last year, they never ripened, so I won’t sew the saved seeds. I will send them to anyone who wants them!
Pineapple Tomatillo was Delicious!!! I put them in with all the other tomatoes before the first frost, simmered them down with lime juice and salt, and the outcome was amazing.
Persian Baby Cucumber (didn’t get to plant these last year, ran out of room, but I plan to plant them this year in the flower bed in the back yard so they can spread. They are hybrid, so I don’t want them mixing with my heirlooms. My other hybrids will go in the back as well.)
Red Siberian Tomato (Russian heirloom) grew well and were sweet and tasty
Ancho/Poblano Chilie Pepper (Always a favorite)
Black Beauty Squash (Heirloom. They didn’t fruit last year, I think I will set them aside this year)
Black Krim Tomato (Grew wonderfully and tasted that way too. Very juicy, great for canning but too ‘wet’ for sandwiches)
Speckled Roman Tomato (Roma style striped tomato, very flavorful but only grew so-so)
NuMex Joe E. Parker (These, along with several other plants, never came up because I tried to start them outdoors and we had a brutal spring cold snap. Will try these again.)

I only have so much room, so one plant of each is all I can fit in. If I have enough compost I will try some of the hybrids I have in the mix in the back yard. We shall see!