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MAY 22, 2009   

More planting

Vegetables and flowers alongside bamboo trellisWhere the peas failed to thrive, I dug holes about 8" wide and close to a foot deep and filled them with soil mix. On one side of the bamboo trellis I put beefsteak tomatoes, on the other, peppers, planted in lots of compost.

Between the vegetables I put a few marigolds and along the nearby rocks, purple and blue lobelias. I put a single grape tomato plant in a container. Finally in another straw bale went eggplant, parsley, basil, pepper.

Top of straw bale planted with eggplant, zuccini and pepper plantsYesterday: straw bale with eggplant, pepper and zucchini. If you're interested there's more info online about straw bale gardens.

At least one of the articles I read suggested that you pull apart the straw to make room for your plants, but that didn't work for me because the straw was so tightly packed.

Using utility knife to chop hole in straw baleInstead, I took a utility knife and hacked out holes about 6" wide and 8" deep. I put a couple handfuls of soil mixture in each, then buried the plants pretty deeply. Before watering them I covered the dirt with a layer of straw as mulch.

Robin in compost heapMy constant companion today was the robin mom who spends all day feeding three offspring who look big enough to be taking care of this on their own.

I think to the robin I look like the guy who carries out the big tray of crab legs to refill the steam table at the all-you-can-eat restaurant. You stand behind him, plate in hand, waiting to get at the goodies. My bird friend waits for me to dig up a new spot, turning over a new batch of tasty worms.

On the one hand I feel good that the robin has come to trust me so much that she will come within a foot or two of where I'm working. On the other hand I begrudge her those worms. I'd rather have them crawling around aerating my soil and pooping their nutrient-rich poop for my plants to absorb.

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