Thursday, April 1, 2021

April Fools Day ...... not laughing


Garden Composition:  
Snow on Rhubarb

Two days ago it was 71 degrees, shirt sleeve weather and it was wonderful!  This morning before the sun was up,  I slipped on my boots for Kirby's constitutional, the wind and snow hit us both in the face.  Argh!  There were no chirps coming from the coop and the girls were sleeping in.  

 Spring garden season in zone 5 is a healthy balance between indoor sports and outdoor sports.   On the days the sun is out and the temperatures warm, it's impossible to stay inside. 

I went over last years log on the garden season and this year I am feeling woefully behind but wait!  Maybe not.  Although all my pruning and transplanting was done by April 1st last year we had had a very warm winter and the ground never really froze.  This entire place got a side-out rotate!  This year I don't need to move very much, except a large looming compost pile.  

Today with the wind chill in the teens, the oven clicks along warming the kitchen with this weeks loaves of bread and I think I have time for a quick update on life in Paine Falls. 

(it's been two years since I have bought a loaf of bread and that makes me happy :) 

The seeds have been started!  In the studio..... again, with my booth lights....... again!  I never thought we would still be under covid.  Shows are still cancelling but some are still forging ahead, it's still a crap shoot on the show circuit.  And although my entire family is now vaccinated I feel like we are still walking on eggshells. 

The studio is as clean and ambient light is lovely on a cold day.

Tomatoes, peppers (sweet & hot), basil, winter and summer squash, zinnias, cynus, purple sprouting broccoli, eggplant, leeks.  Last year I started everything inside!  This year I am not starting every growing thing inside!  Lettuce and peas will be planted outside on Saturday.  Last year after planting starts next to direct sown seed there was very little difference.  Save the space on the heating mat and use it for flowers and a few hot veggies and fruits.  Saturday will be big a day for planting kale, lettuce, peas, beets and carrots in the way back garden. 

All the back beds have been cleaned and amended. 
I added a bit of organic humus and cow manure this year.  One bag per bed.  

Onions and shallots are in their own bed this year.  I doubled my onions this year and the shallots too. 
If I can find shallots I would love to add another row.  Strawberries transplanted and trimmed up.  After 3 years I am happy to report that most of the cement blocks now have strawberry plants. 

Always thinking I harvested all the potatoes and carrots last Fall, every Spring I am surprised when I pull the bitter cress out and I find buried treasures.  The carrots are sugar sweet and the potatoes were delicious with the last of the garlic; snipped off a now empty braid hanging on the cellar door.   This is the time known as the Hungry Gap.  I am happy I don't need to eat the bitter cress but it is good in a salad mixed with store bought greens. 

Raspberries pruned and leaf litter scattered among the roots. 

The garlic is up, but it's a bit spotty.  I am waiting to apply mulch until more of the tops are showing. 

Trying to keep up my walking but this time of the year as soon as my shoes are laced my mind starts running down all the  outside chores that need to be done.  I walk a bit faster and cut my walk a bit shorter so I can get the pruners out and get to work!  This time of the year the buddleia, cotinus and hydrangeas all need a good whack.  Deadwood needs to be cut out of the gooseberries, blueberries and honeyberries.  The honeyberries are already blooming but after the nest 24 hour below freezing temperatures I wonder how they will fare. 

Last years peach tree that struggled with fire blight first, then pruned hard and comfrey planted around the base rallied.  On my walkabout this week I noticed it has now developed a canker on the trunk so I am afraid the peach tree will be gone.  I do need another for a pollinator but maybe somewhere else.  The back corner is where all plants go to die, no idea what goes on back there!  Looks like it will be a raspberry corner.  

I am ready for ground hog season!  All outdoor building are now trenched and fenced!  What a job and happy this one is done!  Had to wait until the wood racks were empty..... it's been that kind of a winter. 
and a bit of painting is in order!  

In other news......... this year of Covid has been an adjustment.  I have lost neighbors and gained new ones.  Found a new neighbor who lives around the corner that worked on an estate I had once haunted.  She is an avid gardener.  We decided to post on a local neighborhood site that we would love to get together with other gardeners.  We were stunned when 62 people said they would like to participate! 
We have had one meeting outside and the other meeting is tonight.  After years of working alone I am excited to share gardens, goals, triumphs, challenges and complete disasters with other gardeners.  Not sure what road it will take us down but it's nice to have company.  Hopefully meeting once a month.  We are very informal and just wondering what is going on in others backyards.  Edibles, ornamentals, water gardens; all are welcome.  A new adventure in Paine Falls! 

Stay warm out there!!