Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Ramblings

Things in the sunroom are starting to get a little cramped. I started transplanting tomatoes this week from 72 cell flats into the 4" pots where they will live out their time before moving to the garden. Logistically what this means is that we go from this:
To this:
With each plant now occupying more than 4 times the amount of space than it was last week. Yep, things are starting to get a little crazy in there, and it will only get worse as the rest of the tomatoes and the eggplant will be ready for transplanting in the next several days.

We have been taking advantage of all the nicer weather to get things moving outside as well. Yesterday in a mad rush to get things accomplished before the forecast snow (which hasn't arrived as of this writing) I decided to tackle the asparagus patch which hadn't been cleaned for two years. Armed with the weed wacker and a rake I went after all the dead growth with a vengance. Luckily I wasn't so blinded by my enthusiasm for the project that I overlooked two rather amazing discoveries:
First, the asparagus is up. Holy cow, its seems too early for that to be possible, but Sean reminds me that I say that every year. Our asparagus bed is on a south-facing slope so it tends to come up earlier than most. I'd like to plant a second bed in a flat or north-facing slope to help expend our asparagus season. Its on the "to-do" list, but hasn't happened yet.
My second discovery was almost more exciting than the first, can you guess what it is??
I know it looks bad, I always thought so in the past and we've burned some of these thinking that they were nasty, fruit tree eating bugs. In fact this is a praying mantis eggcase, which is a very beneficial insect in the garden. They eat all sorts of bugs that are a problem in vegetable gardens and fruit trees. According to my recent research, this egg case contains from 50-200 individual eggs and a female will lay 15-25 of these weird-looking cases in a brushy area, which recently describes my asparagus patch rather accurately.
So for now this little treasure has moved into the row of pine trees near the herb garden for its protection and hopefully later this spring the new babies will hatch and provide us with a new generation of bug-eaters.
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