Back in mid-August, I blogged about the to-do lists that get me through spring. I make a list and stick to it. That way, everything gets done.
But what if the plants don’t pay attention to the list?
I try to maintain consistency from year to year, and I document planting dates, plant-out dates, potting-up dates. So I know that if I plant my first batch of corn in trays on the 15th of October, it will be just ready to plant out on Canterbury weekend (around the 15th of November).
But this year, the corn was ready to plant out by the 30th of October.
The corn bed wasn’t ready yet. It’s always the last one I prepare, because it’s usually the last one to be planted out. I took the trays of corn seedlings out of my office, so they would have chilly nights to slow down their growth.
It didn’t help. The corn kept growing at a ridiculous rate.
I considered planting the corn in the beds designated for pumpkins, because they were ready. But that would have meant planting pumpkins in the same beds they were in last year. I had a lot of pest problems in those beds last year—I’d be foolish to plant the same crop there again this year.
Last weekend I got frantic. If I didn’t get the corn out to the garden in the next week, it would die in those trays.
Wednesday, I quit work at 2 pm and started preparing the beds. I got them weeded, and the soil turned. Then I realised I was going to need to turn the compost pile in order to get compost for those beds.
Turning the compost pile usually takes at least two weekends of back-breaking work.
This morning, I started on the compost pile around 6.30 am. By the time I’d turned a third of it into the empty compost bay, I was completely exhausted. And I’d only managed to get five wheelbarrow loads of compost for the corn (I really wanted nine).
So I compromised. Five loads of compost would have to be enough. I turned it in, raked the soil smooth and called the beds done. The corn was all in the ground before lunch. Whew!
Of course, it’s a week early. I have learned the hard way not to plant out too early here. My garden sits in a frost pocket. Chances are, the corn will get nipped by frost, but it was either that or watch them die in trays. Crossing my fingers and hoping for warm weather!