Wednesday, May 9:

Finally we have gotten enough rain to register, and the pasture is even soggy in places.  We have enough grass to be getting on with, and the frogs, tree and pond, are so happy they sing all night.  Very soothing.  All the things in the greenhouse that won’t need any more potting up were moved outside over the last three days where they can harden off, under a thin canopy of row cover at first, then uncovered.  In the greenhouse there are still tomatoes and peppers to prick out into flats, or pot up to four inch pots.

We brought home a truckload of grass clippings last night, and this morning spread them on the raised beds by the house.  A thick layer of grass clippings not only controls weeds and conserves water, but insulates the frost tender plants like tomatoes so that we can put them out two or three weeks earlier than the extension says one ought.  If your aesthetic doesn’t rebel, you pt use plastic jugs with the tops and bottoms cut out around the tomato plants, then pull the grass clippings in close, and create a microclimate so warm the tomatoes grow very quickly.  The plastic jug also lets you water, if necessary, just where it will do the most good.  Of course, there are always the nasty chemicals that could leach out of the plastic . . . in this world there must always be compromises between the perfect and the possible.