Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MacGyver Rides Again

We were busy little bees this weekend, seeding and transplanting and improvising hoop houses with clothespins and old fencing. Mark likes to channel MacGyver, and he's got the hockey hair to prove it.

The weather was delightfully cooperative on Saturday, lulling us into a sense of security. Even Sunday afternoon was cool and overcast, perfect for transplanting greens, so we put out the chard, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and arugula. However, Sunday evening brought hail and thunderstorms. Most of the broccoli and lettuce we'd planted outside was under row covers, but there were a few extras we planted in boxes along the driveway. They got pummeled pretty hard, but it looks like the broccoli and arugula are recovering. The jury's still out on the lettuce. We're fully anticipating an infestation of squirrels next, closely followed by a plague of locusts.

Radishes, spinach, sweet peas, and fennel seeds are all in the ground, and from the safety of our home we started marigolds, calendula, and okra. Mark raised the roof (literally) on the hoop houses, using PVC pipe to get another 18 inches out of our row covers. Last year, the plants outgrew the row covers long before the last frost date of May 15, so this solution should buy us some time.

We are very excited about the tomatoes, which are fast becoming behemoths at 4-6 inches tall, nice and bushy and not leggy at all. They're starting to fill the room with that earthy tomato-plant scent, which has been one of Kate's all-time favorite aromas ever since her very first job in a greenhouse at age 15.

And now Kate will leave you with one final image: Mark, crouched on the floor of the bathroom, with the door locked to keep the mewling cats out while he cuts the bottoms out of a dozen cat-food cans. This is a lot more difficult than it sounds. And a lot more hilarious, although I shouldn't have laughed at the bloodshed. All this to keep the cutworms off the broccoli this year, which is critical--I understand that--but this seems more painful and complicated than necessary.

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