Feeding the garden

Today started with a trip to Home Depot to get some hardware cloth. 1/4 inch square galvanized hardware cloth, to be exact.

I needed the hardware cloth to sift the compost that has been sitting at the bottom of my composter for a few years. It had lots of time to decompose, and it did it quite well. There were still some pieces of eggshell, some big hunks of bark, a few pebbles (must have come from previous garden waste, or the detritus at the bottom of flower pots) and the like. So in order to have just the good stuff, I needed to sift it through the hardware cloth.

Dump a few trowels’ worth on the hardware cloth (positioned above a bucket), and move it around with my gloved hands or the edge of the trowel until only the big bits are left on top. Discard big bits; repeat. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. I would have worn my iPod, except I wanted to be listening for migrators while I was doing it. Didn’t see any new birds.

Have a nice even layer of compost over everything in the big north bed in the back yard. Need to sift some more for the south bed, the triangle bed, and the front garden.

The north and south beds are the priorities, because I need to get the hostas in the ground tomorrow, so I’ve been doing prepwork. Yesterday I pulled daffodils and bluebells. I would have raked them out, but discovered that the elderberry has very shallow roots! I’m afraid I broke a couple of them. So I’ve got a few daffodil bulbs left in the ground, but I pulled their leaves off and I’m not sure if they’ll even sprout next year.

I’m almost all set for tomorrow. I found my permanent aluminum plant markers, and have written the names on them, and have drawn up a cheat sheet on a filing card so I remember where to plant things. I need to go to East End Gardens before I plant, though, and buy some blood meal to sprinkle around each hosta after planting, with the hopes that the squirrels won’t dig up the hostas because they smell like wet dog. Give them a chance to get established and for the squirrels to forget that the soil had been dug up.

On another note, when I was cleaning leaf and flower junk out of the water thingie, I discovered that a young European sparrow drowned today. The corners of its mouth were still quite yellow. I was surprised: I didn’t realize that sparrow families were that far along this year.

I’ll have to see if I can rig something up so a bird that falls in the pond can recover and fly off.

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