Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spring Has Not Been Kind

This is a rough spring, folks. So cold that I still have plants in the cold frame right now. So wet that everything is sopping wet and ponded and I'm worried about the roots of things already in the ground. To top it off, I've had bunny (deer?) raids on my hot peppers--they were taken off to ground level--so I might not have any Reapers this year.

The mud got so bad in the pullet enclosure we had to move them the other day, poor things. They look much happier in their new location, which is inside the chicken pasture to make it easy to integrate flocks in a month or so.

This morning Mike put a hitch on our CR-V. Our pickup truck died this winter, and it's been difficult without it. I badly want to buy mulch, and I missed two Craigslist deals--one for a small greenhouse and one for a dog pen that would have been perfect for young chickens. We're going to get a small trailer for the CR-V instead of a new truck. MUCH cheaper, but I'm going to have to be extra careful about how much weight I put on the trailer or you'll see me sitting beside the road with popped tires.

While Mike was working under the car, I was being frustrated by my new strawberry bed. We renovate only one bed at a time so we always have lots of berries, so one of my strawberry beds looks like this:

While the other one looks like this:

That's a new strawberry crown surrounded by yellow nutsedge and bindweed. These two weeds are horrible, and for some reason I have them very badly in this bed. Nutsedge is tricky to combat because it leaves rhizomes in the ground when you pull it, and each of these bits of rhizome can become a whole new plant. It's waxy and resistant to herbicides, too. The only way I know to fight it is to use a hoe and mechanically remove it--again and again and again and again until it's finally gone. Unfortunately it's far too wet to hoe right now, so I just have to watch the nutsedge get bigger and tougher and harder to remove.

Bindweed is just as bad as yellow nutsedge. It's basically a wild morning glory, and is the reason that you'll never catch me planting morning glory, ever. It has long, thick roots that snake along under the ground--sometimes 20 feet deep--and vines pop up all along this root. It's almost impossible to eradicate. If you see this in your flower gardens, be prepared for a battle.

All you can do with bindweed is pull it and pull it. You can put down black plastic and starve it of light for several years, you can allow the area to get extremely dry in the summer and starve it of light, you can paint the vines with glyphosate, and you can pull the seedlings when they're small. I spent the morning pulling bindweed, and I'm going to try to mulch heavily between my rows, but there's not much else I can do since everything else that you can do to kill bindweed will also kill my new strawberries.

I hope your spring gardening is going better than mine! Let me know what you're planting in the comments.