Thursday, May 14, 2015

9 May 2015: rodent-proofing the fruit trees

9 May 2015 was chilly and overcast. We were fortunate that the rain stopped before we opened the garden to welcome the group of hardy volunteers who had arrived to help, including a group from Chicago Cares.

There are varieties of loveliness in the garden that occur throughout the year. It is sometimes easy to miss the shortlived beauty that appears just after a spring rainstorm, especially when it is cold and damp. Blooms and seedlings glowed in the cloud-obscured morning sunlight as raindrops dry on petals and leaves. The front garden was carpeted with petals that had fallen from flowering trees overhead.

Our group had work to do that day that wasn't particularly lovely: we needed to rodent-proof the beds that house the fruit trees in the back of the garden near the alley. While some of us installed hardware cloth around the tree trunks (to keep critters from digging into the beds), others sifted compost. After covering the hardware cloth with compost, we sowed seeds for alyssium between the trees.

We finished the day by planting a bed of carrots. In previous years, we fussed over our carrots, preparing a special bed for them by incorporating sand in the hopes that the looser soil would ease root growth. We've never really had much success in this coddling of our carrots; this year, we're letting them fend for themselves in a regular bed.