Saturday, June 2, 2012

Consider a Cat

Oodles of jobs to do on a day with no away from home commitments. No need to look presentable. I'm okay in my garden grubbies. Don't have to watch the clock and the weather is perfect. Our area is considered safe from frost for the most part by the end of May and I had an agenda on my free day to finish planting annuals and plants I'd kept in the house over the winter. The afternoon was getting on by the time I had all those little guys tucked into their spots and I could tackle a project that intrigued me. 
 
At a Canada Blooms workshop in March, Ken Brown described planting peppers in a cylinder-shaped thingy made of hardware cloth lined with landscape fabric. I had no idea what either of these was, but over the weeks I had tracked them down and figured I could create my pepper cage before supper. My teacher-heart would have appreciated a detailed lesson plan to follow. The learning curve grew as I worked at making the springy wire fencing stay unfurled and fastening the two ends together to form a circle; getting the landscape fabric in place, and the completed contraption secure in a patch of freshly dug earth.

That would have been a good place to stop, but, no, I had my plan - like I would never have another free day... What I thought would be plenty of soil filled only one third of the cage. To give each pepper as much space as possible I started squishing them in at the bottom two or three inches above the ground. Somehow all except the first have survived. After I mangled its poor wee root ball, I snipped a wire to make a larger opening to poke the roots of each of the other plants into the earth. 

I've learned lots about what to do and not to do another year, but how much better to have stopped, rested and thought through the steps to a better result. In Matthew chapter six Jesus said to look at the birds. I could have just considered the way Mr. Whiskers operates. He's up early, making his rounds, tending to business. Then he does the big stretch, finds a spot to his liking and sleeps. When he's rested,off he goes again with fresh energy for his next adventure.

Another afternoon came with time to fill up the cylinder with more soil and I planted fingerling potatoes on top of the peppers. The Canada Blooms workshop was on vertical vegetable gardening. What I've done probably needs lots of correcting, but it was "vertical" and at least I've learned about hardware cloth and landscape fabric. And I'm choosing to pay more attention to my golden boy's tactics.