This soft, inviting soil is the result of several of hours of digging yesterday. My visit to the farm and the warm spell we've been having finally drew me out into the garden to contemplate my raised bed. The last few months I've been ignoring it, ever since my last crop didn't thrive, wet weather sent me indoors, and I discovered that roots from neighboring plants had penetrated the bed. This latter item might not seem so discouraging, but there was a thick layer of matted roots like a sponge 3-4 inches below the surface of my entire bed, sucking up water and nutrients. The roots are from either the Cecile Brunner rose or our orange muscat grapes, or both. These plants were gifts when we moved into our home, so have been established for more than ten years. I have to honor their persistence and hardiness and I love they way they cover our back wall with green grape leaves and pale pink blossoms. (We have never gotten any grapes from the vines although our farming friends in Yolo County--who gave us the grave vines--have, and they are delicious.) But I was not at all happy with their invasion and conquering of my raised bed.
This is not a giant bushy caterpillar but a chunk of the root mat I dug up. Once I had dug up most of it, and severed with my shovel as many roots leading into the bed as I could find (one was bigger around than my little finger), I dug in a bag of chicken manure and added more nursery mix. In the course of my digging I came across a lot of worms. Now the bed can sit for a couple of weeks before I plant it. Now I can get excited again about what to plant. In the meantime, I am planting some seeds to transplant into the bed as starts. My garden is beginning again.