I have a lot of transplants to get in the ground this week. I’m just about paralyzed with the prospect. I’ve started to chip away at the job–first planting my tubs of parsley and then the cells of eggplant and the peppers I grew from seed obtained from the Seed Library, then my okra–which is the only transplant that doesn’t look stressed by the heat at this point.
I planted the whole lower bed my husband built up last year with seed and transplants. Then started the monumental task of moving and giving away strawberries from the bed by the front walk. I kept giving them away to people, and there was still more. One neighbor came and dug and I didn’t even realize it!
I started preparing ground for a new strawberry bed in my back border under one of the cherry trees last year. I invited a neighbor over to dig almost everything that I couldn’t add to another border in my own yard–mostly flowers, mint, and lemon balm—then layered on leaves, compost, and chicken yard hay to the area. It all wintered in (and what a winter it was!) and I planted the strawberries the other day.
It was one of the few areas in the yard where the soil was still damp before the rain. The final layer of chicken yard hay, partially broken down and composted by the chickens’ continual scratching and turning, acted as a mulch which I pulled back around the transplants before watering them in.
As I was digging, planting, and watering the 42 transplanted strawberries, I kept hearing some kind of woodpecker calling nearby. I finally located the Red-Bellied Woodpecker that was making the noise high in our huge old willow. It was creating a nest hole and snatching snacks on other parts of the tree. I see these birds on the patio in the summer eating ants out of the cracks between the concrete slabs. They will also come to water at our big cement aggregate birdbath from time to time.
The old willow is full of carpenter ants, so I imagine these birds find a lot of good eating without having to go far. The willow is also big enough to easily support a large nesting hole, and the wood is easy to drill.
Sorry I wasn’t able to give you a better picture of the woodpecker, but the nest hole is probably 15-20 feet up the tree, and the bird flies away when I get too close! I’m going to be watching the red-bellied woodpecker’s progress as the month passes. Begonia