Tilling Tidings (04/23/21)

This week we were unfortunately hit with an unseasonably late frost: a black locust winter. Where I am in Tennessee, it’s not supposed to get that cold after our frost date on April 14th. Of course, the weather doesn’t exactly care what it is supposed to do. It just does. Like many of the untrained dogs that dot the landscape.

It was very fortunate, in this case, that Mothra found and fancied a greenhouse big enough for us to stand in.

On the outside
On the inside

The other greenhouse had served us well, but with the thing falling apart at the seams more rapidly than I could repair, the greenhouse I’d found for free in a church rummage sale (what? Just because I don’t go doesn’t mean I can’t take advantage of cheap vintage stuff old folks no longer want!) had served its purpose.

The plants outside didn’t seem to fare as well as the plants inside the greenhouse. The most worrying were the peas that I had painstakingly planted last weekend once the weather had warmed up. They almost seem to be deflated, though I’m sure with the 80 degrees we’ll have this weekend they’ll perk up again. What a nasty way for them to meet the world.

Still, at least the tomatoes seem to be doing okay. As you can see, we’ve got little tomato cages for them. Naughty tomatoes go into the tomato cage for their sins, after all. The sin? Being absolutely delicious. We have a beefsteak, a big boy, and a few other heirloom varieties out there just doing their best, and I recently found a recipe to make my own ketchup. I’m eager to try it.

We’ve also set up our anti-deer measures: Irish Spring soap. It may not look like much, but this has kept deer out of our garden for years. It works as a sort of scent scarecrow. The deer smell the soap and thinks it smells like humans, and so they avoid the area out of fear. Since it’s not deer season yet, that’s the best (legal) method we’ve got, since we aren’t exactly driving tanks. A stinky shirt will also work, but the smell fades over time and has to be updated with newer, stinkier shirts.

So, we hang these pieces of soap around our garden on each side.

Winesap and the setting sun
Gala tree, just vibes
Fuji out here looking better than my engagement photos

The trees all weathered the cold well, as I expected they would. Soon it will be time to net them up in preparation of Brood X, but I won’t be doing that until May. And speaking of trees, the pecans are still wee sticks, but one of them grew a new branch! I’m so proud!

Look at him! Look at his new arm!

What a little trooper. His brother has the beginnings of a couple branches, but it looks like this wee pecan is really picking up speed. I can’t wait until he’s taller than I am!

Again, I’m just so proud! And look at the blueberries! Look at these little powerhouses!

The blueberries also withstood the cold much better than I expected they would. I suspect the little ones, sheltered by high grass and buttercups, were well-insulated. I no longer expect any sort of blueberry harvest from the big lad though; she’s already gotten her berries frozen off twice. If I were her, I’d be too spiteful to grow a single berry. It seems as though they do better when I don’t cover them, but I’d like to get some fabric covers rather than garbage bags and see if that improves anything for the next time. I hope I’ll have to wait until next spring to find out though.

No more freezes after this! No more! We are well past the frost date at this point and I have already put away my sweaters. May Beltane be beautiful and may I be able to put away the windshield defroster! So mote it be!

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