Monday, April 6, 2009

One area of growth

There is nothing like a sunny Sunday in the 60s to treat the seasonal depression brought on by a near week of raw air, spitting rain, and stories of economic gloom and doom. After sleeping in, tackling my shrinking Sunday paper, and running a few errands, I made it over to the Minton Stable Garden to put in a little maintenance and appreciate something that is still growing.
I encountered nearly a dozen people gardening, walking dogs, or just relaxing on the stone benches. Asa, my plot neighbor, was there with her two sons, including her not-so-newborn, whom I met for the first time. When I arrived she was finishing up a task that was on top of my agenda: weeding and thinning the strawberries, and making sure that the patch was free of bindweed. In the presentation at last week's meeting, the Steering Committee warned that this highly invasive weed has a tendency to spread among strawberries; both plants have persistent root systems. Bindweed continues to threaten the MSG. An investigation by the Steering Committee revealed that about four plots are so seriously infested that the soil in them may need to be replaced. Although I saw one plot covered with plastic yesterday, it was not announced which areas were affected.
On a brighter note, my spinach and lettuce are starting to appear. As you can see in this photo, our soil is littered with small rocks, presumably washed or blown in from the footpaths, so the spinach sprouts may be hard to notice. I ran into another gardener who shared my complaint that the peas (which I planted nearly two weeks ago at home) have yet to be seen.

Then we turned the faucets--still no water. When I asked Allan from the Steering Committee about this, he joked that he should just make a pin that says "April 23" and wear it everywhere because of all the times he's been asked. The water won't be turned on for another few weeks. The copper pipes don't benefit from the same warmth as those in our homes so it's best to wait until they are no longer frozen and at risk of bursting. With more showers in the forecast today, we probably won't have to haul too much water to encourage more growth. It is April in Boston, after all.


Dan said...

That bindweed is nasty stuff. I spray it with vinegar/salt solution well it is young. Nice sign of spring having your spinach sprout. I planted some 8 days ago and still no sign of them. Today we are getting snow/rain mix so I imagine it will be a while yet. On the pea front maybe try starting them indoors and then transplant out. They really can take ages to germinate in cold soil but really have no problem growing in the cold once germinated.

Sally said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn't thought of trying to start some indoors; since I have a surplus of seeds may be worth trying.

Does the vinegar/salt work well on the bindweed? I heard someone say that the only way to kill a bindweed plant is pour Roundup on it! Definitely against our rules.

Dan said...

If you start applying well they are young and with persistence it should kill the plants. It may take numerous attempts though. If anything it should at least help in the effort of controlling them.

Bryan Bunch said...

Sally, your spinach is way ahead of mine, which just showed tiny seed leafs a couple of days ago. When I saw those leafs and those of a row of lettuce, I figured it was time to plant another row of spinach (a different variety) and two more of lettuce (three different varieties--one row mixed two different butterhead types, while the other was my favorite for reliability, Red Sails, which is getting harder and harder to find. I might add that the sugar snaps and snow peas, planted even before the first rows of spinach and lettuce, show no signs of life yet.