‘Tis the season for lots of work in the garden without a lot of tangible visual rewards. The weeding, mulching, compost spreading, planting, row covering, dividing, bed building, sweeping, raking, etc. all have to be done, but you generally don’t get to see the final product (as much as anything in a garden can ever be final) until much later. Here are a few things that I’ve been up to in these early spring days.

I moved one of the 750 gallon rain water tanks over by the other one. The runoff from this part of the roof is much better than where the other tank had been situated, behind the shed. These will fill in one, or at most two, mountain rain storms. I still need to add the overflow piping and clean last year’s gunk from one of the tanks. But, at least the move and initial siting is done. I’ve half an idea I might try to get moss to grow over these so they blend into the lush, but I’ll probably be too busy doing other things to remember.

The raspberries migrate down-slope every year, so this spring I decided to go with the flow and build a new raised bed for them. It’s not really very raised, as the primary purpose is to keep the crab grass out, but the edges do make it easier to keep weeds and everything else under control.

 It was time to wave goodbye to the big, unruly open compost heap under the trees. The local possums enjoyed rooting in it, and the posts had rotted away after six years. We had one compost bin in another part of the yard, but it had started cracking and falling apart, so cheap-ass McGyver that I am, I patched it up and relocated it. We also inherited another which was being starved by lack of use. All the vege beds got a good infusion of fresh compost, and the remainder of the black gold certainly got well stirred and aerated in the transfer to the new bins.

Yes, I got suckered into picking up some pincushion flower when I went to get the cedar planks for the raised bed. We’re very yellow heavy in spring, so a spot of different color is welcome.

One year on for my part-shade back bed located beneath several trees. Instead of ripping up all the dead bouncing bette stalks and carting the dead leaves off to the compost pile, this winter I decided to rake all the leaves in the yard over here, and regularly went over them with the mower to chop them down to size. We now have a couple of inches of good leaf mulch all over this area, and I’m hoping that the bulbs enjoy it.

The pic on the left was taken at the end of Jan 2011, the right at the end of Feb 2012. The mild weather has brought the bulbs up quicker than usual. We have daffodils, hyacinth, and Star of Bethlehem all bursting forth, so hopefully they’ll get a good few weeks to bloom before the rising tide of bouncing bette buries them for the rest of the year.