It’s time to tackle Grow Write Guild Writing Prompt #3, which is the first in what promises to be a very interesting series of posts documenting changes our garden spaces from the beginning of the season through the summer.
My garden is dry and brown right now, in part because three days ago, it was under a layer of airy, dirty snow. We’re also back under a winter storm warning, so it might well be back under a layer of snow by this time tomorrow. So, while my seedlings enjoy their continued respite from our harsh climate, my garden looks like this:
Last year’s bed and cover.
I set the cover on the ground for the winter, deciding that it would be less damaged by contact with the soil than it would be by being continually blown off the bed and into the fence. (Wyoming is where the wind lives. It just visits other places.) I wasn’t sure it was going to survive the winter, either way, so I’m pleased to report that it seems perfectly sound and able to withstand a second season. I pulled chicken wire across the bed and stapled it down to keep the feral cats from using my garden as a litter box all winter, also with success. The twine strung every almost-foot is broken in several places, but I expected to need to restring my spacing markers anyway. I’ll pull the staples for that when I remove the chicken wire, and cut it into suitable lengths to leave for birds to use as nesting material. The robins have started to arrive, but they’re squabbling about whose bright idea it was to return before it was done snowing.
This year, I’m expanding out a bit to the north, where there are few stands of the tough bunched oats to fight through:
Oh, the places we’ll go!
The dirt pile in the background was pulled off the front “yard” of the other home on the property, after having been soaked in herbicide so the owner could put in a rock garden. While the herbicide indicated that it should break down into a harmless form in short order, I don’t plan to trust that dirt pile until I see it covered in weeds other than the ubiquitous and invasive Salsola iberica, or Russian thistle, an ironic symbol of the Old American West better known to many people as “tumbleweed.” The stuff will grow in the absolute worst conditions, in soil still toxic to most other plants. I usually pull them up in the hopes of keeping their numbers down to a dull roar, but since they’ll help rehabilitate that soil, I’ll leave what grows there alone.
Some assorted trash has blown in over the winter and will need gathered up and disposed of as appropriate, and that ancient CRT monitor marks the resting place of a beloved house cat, for the entirely pragmatic reason of keeping the foxes out of it.
Don’t let the stark brown fool you, though. The grass is starting to green up around the base, where the dead blades from last year offer a little protection from the unrelenting wind and freezing temperatures. Since I took the photos, I have scraped off the top layer from the areas for two new beds, leveled out a “bump” across one of them, removed the monitor (it’s been a couple of years, so there’s no remaining risk) and filled the depression in with the excess I scraped off the two new areas.
There’s still a lot of work ahead, but the first bits are done, so there’s that much less still to do.