With temperatures in the mid-seventies this week, we’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors. The official start of spring is still four weeks away, so I know this weather won’t last. It was a great opportunity to accomplish some garden chores.
I cut the larger broccoli crowns, along with the flowering plants that bolted last week, and left the smaller florets behind. With luck, we’ll have a few more servings before all plants go to seed. I soaked the cuttings in warm salt water before wrapping them in a towel to crisp in the fridge.
Following my friend Doug’s instructions and the notes I found on-line, I pruned our two-year old, “four-in-one” fruit tree. The soft buds are plump on all four grafts and a few have started to flower. I put some of the cuttings in a vase indoors and will recycle the rest curbside. San Jose’s excellent recycling program converts green waste into mulch!
The aforementioned fruit tree was my son’s 10 year birthday gift, so the pressure to prune it properly runs high. He refused to watch, even though I read to him how important pruning fruit trees is in the first four years to establish a strong tree. It was fun to read the origins of the phrase “nipping it in the bud.”
My husband helped me drag the water-logged roses to the front deck where we replanted them in a pot. We displaced the plants when we installed the patio out back so I was happy to find them a home. I’m sure I’ve disappointed a few squirrels. They dig up the planter every few days leaving dirt all over the deck. Since they don’t stay to clean up the mess they don’t have a say in the matter. The roses will soon bloom, discouraging all that plunder.
We store our emergency/earthquake kit under a potting bench in two air-tight containers. I knew it was time to update the water along with a few other items, but for all my love of gardening, I’m a bit squeamish about spiders. Mike pulled out the bins and stacked them on the table so I could empty, sort, clean and replace items as needed. I washed the blankets, pillow cases and the canvas tote and made a note to replace the water boxes and a few batteries. Otherwise it was in decent shape. As I went to replace the oil cloth cover I discovered one of the largest, hairiest garden spiders I’ve ever seen. We stood and debated its livelihood for a moment: I knew it was alive; my husband said dead. I carried the cloth to the far reaches of the garden to relocate the arachnid. As we stood staring at it, one of the cats crawled under the cloth and then jumped out the other side. The two of us jumped in unison, momentarily convinced that “Sir Harry” was out for blood.
Next week: a trip to Almaden Valley Nursery to source and price some plants.
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