Work to do on a Johnson Lane 'farm'

The neighborhood is buzzing with the sound of lawnmowers. The apricot trees in the orchard and the flowering plums in the yard have beautiful pink flowers on them today. The asparagus tips are popping up. It's time to put down a good coat of 6 inches or so of mulch, which I import special. It contains shaving, lots of straw and goat poop.

I made a quick run down to the feed store for a 5-pound package of red potato seeds. I cut the potatoes into pieces that gave me 30 eyes. They will sit on a cookie sheet for a few days. I will be planting each seed 3 to 4 inches deep about 18 inches apart with the eyes up. When the greens of the plants are about 6 inches tall, I will cover them with a mixture of sand, and my good mulch. I top with mulch two more times as the mounds of potatoes are growing through the season. When the plant dies, I will harvest two weeks later. I can leave most of them in the ground until our ground begins to freeze. Then I'll pull the rest up and keep them in a dark cool cupboard for the winter.

Now it's time to put in 10 all male Jersey Girl Asparagus crowns, extra large of course. The reason you plant only male plants is because the females have to use their energy to produce seeds, so they usually fall to the ground and become a weeding problem. Asparagus grow great in our Johnson Lane sandy loamy soil. I continue to add to my trench a few crowns each year. The trench should be about 8 inches deep and rows 4 feet apart. I place each new crown 10 inches apart and cover with 3 inches of soil. As the plant gets as tall as the trench, fill the trench with soil until level. Let it go the first year and weed-eat off the top when the plant dies off. Full production of a crown will take four to six years. That's why it's good to put in another 10-pack or so of crowns each year, as asparagus can grow many, many, many years.

I have trimmed back the vineyard and I will be redoing my fence. Last year the plants were so heavy, the fence fell down. One year my father gave me a grocery sack full of concord grapes and suggested I process grape jelly for the boys' sandwiches. I was new to canning and quite energetic. So, I put my grapes together with his, and got to work. Never again. If we're not going to eat them, we should make wine because jelly is just too much work. We always seem to produce way more than we use.

Spring certainly is wonderful in the garden. Now, I'm running out to plant peas, cucumber seeds, carrots and other cool weather veggies.

n Lisa Welch is a Johnson Lane resident. She can be reached at 267-9350.


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