A Trainer By Any Other Name

Whoosh! There went Spring...here comes Summer!

Seven short days ago, we were concerned about a Frost Warning posted on the News 2 Weather ap. Today? It's going to top out at just under 90 (85 already). Talk about running hot and cold...or rather, cold then hot!

I even had to turn on the air conditioner yesterday...because of the heat, as well as the pollen, which is covering everything (like our neighbor's normally shiny red truck) in a powdery yellow. Can't sleep with the windows open when you shouldn't be breathing the air! I may need to refill my nasal spray prescription by the gallon. Want proof? Here's a shot I snapped while taking a rest break on the garden swing. Reminds me of a saying one of my Lunn cousins used to say: "You may write in the dust, as long as you don't date it."

But neither heat nor pollen will deter me from my Spring gardening activities! And, what a long list that would be...

I was thrilled to see asparagus spears shooting up through the asparagus bed a couple of days ago. Such a taste treat...and presented in such an odd manner. Everything else sends up the leaves then flowers in preparation of the bounty to come. Not asparagus. You get the bounty first, for a few short weeks in the Spring, then it spends the rest of the year sporting the fronds and the berries

The eagle-eyed among you might notice those odd holes around the spears. Abbie loves running through the asparagus bed, on her way to jumping into the potato bags. Sigh. She's so cute...but she's going to significantly affect our yield this year, don't you think?

Learning from last year's problems, we are trying to nip the ever-present weed issue in the bud...and attempting to combat one of the issues with clay soil at the same time. Clay soil...which has high mineral content and high water-retention properties...has at least one awful characteristic: in high temps and baking sun, it clods up and crusts over like a brick.

I think I've mentioned that we have been amending our (awful, terrible, horrible) native soil with copious additions of leaf mold and compost. But, we could stay here for 20 years without making a dent in this much soil, working on the whole 1,000 square feet. So, we set up 4 wide rows and three equally wide aisles last Fall, in the Warm Season garden, tilling in more leaves, etc., and making progress, but alas the brick-crusting continues. Until I noticed that the soil under some bags of top soil was moist and workable. Hmmmm. What if we kept the rows covered at all times? And not just with straw, as in the past.

Enter a giant roll of Preen's landscape fabric! We've used it in the Rose Garden with some success, and this year we will be trialing it on the long rows and the aisles. Here's a shot of the rows I covered this morning. In the heat and pollen-choked air. Please be impressed, since I had to move 44 40# bags of top soil to make it possible. Ahem.

And now to the fun part...and how the title relates to this post...

Mr. T finished the tuteur that fits perfectly inside the Center Square of the new raised bed garden. A Tuteur, used as a tower to support vining vegetables and flowers, is a French word meaning "trainer," which is apt since I spent most of my adult life as a corporate trainer. He made one for Missy M's Secret Garden, and I have wanted one ever since. Ours has copper rails (I <3 copper!) and a purple topper, painted to match the shed doors. We even found a pot that fits perfectly...and I planted it with petunias, vinca vine, black-eyed Susan vine, and morning glory vine, that will soon be trailing down. I also seeded the Center Square with Scarlet runner beans, sunflowers, and nasturtiums, that soon will be filling out and up. Grow babies, grow!

Whatcha think?


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