April Starts Cold

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Every year in a garden is different and this year is no different in that. It has been a cold dry windy winter. Plantings are several weeks later than the last few years but it will all come together one way or the other.

Our focus this year is on more cool weather plantings and that we have even though running late. The peas are barely starting to climb and the brassicas (including Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi and collards) are all still pint size. All manner of alliums, radish, lettuce, potatoes, carrots and beets (not up yet) are in the ground and the herbs are springing back to life.

You might notice the colorful wire basket cloches over some areas. I found these at a discount store and bought them out for a buck fifty each. They are perfect for small plants when you have a rabbit sneaking into the garden and nibbling on things. We aren’t sure it’s a rabbit but there was plenty of nibbling going on. We also relocated two raccoons that we caught in a live trap. They may have been helping themselves. And it could just be mice. In a normal year there would be several black snake sightings in the garden by now but we haven’t seen a one and I fear the rodent population is expanding. These basket/cloches are also tight enough to keep out damaging butterflies until the row cover goes on.

I take that no snake comment back as just today I turned up a baby black snake from under some leaf mulch but he was so cold he wasn’t even moving. Gene tucked him back in.

The leaf mulch went on the potato bed as we are expecting a couple of nights of hard freeze over the next few days. Most everything should be fine with a little cover which we will apply tomorrow.

The walkways have been lightly dug out this spring thanks to Gene’s strong back and fresh sawdust is applied. It sure makes for a soft place to work and we especially like the tidy look of it. A few walkway areas have shredded wood which is fine also. The whole garden was built on the principle similar to this – remove any large rocks, lay heavy cardboard, cover with two or three shovelsfull of soil in the spot a plant is to be placed, poke a hole in the mess and drop the plant in. Add compost, cover with straw mulch the first year. It works. The earthworms come and take care of the rest. Most of our garden spot is 3 or 4 years old now and we have fairly rock free dirt 8 – 10 inches deep in most of it.

My biggest concern this year is getting the cool weather plantings mature and harvested with enough time to put the hot weather plants in afterward. Almost every square foot is taken up right now. So, late planting all the way through the seasons this year. The tomatoes and peppers will likely be up-potted at least once more if not twice and will be pretty big when they hit the dirt so that will be a help. It’s all an experiment.

What are your garden plans this year?

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