Friday, 12 April 2013

First Spring Garden Post

Well, here it is; the first post about the spring gardening season. Yeah. Well... not too much to say besides the obvious: this is already shaping up to be a very different season than last year.

We got 2 beds of peas planted in the week between the main snow melting and this incoming batch of snow. One is here, in the lower "wet" beds. We covered it with light row-cover cloth in the hopes of both keeping it a little warmer and keeping the rabbits out. The deer fence we installed last year seems to be working very well. We have not seen any signs of deer in the yard in the last few months at all. Rabbits are another story though, and the veggies in the wet beds are particularly susceptible, being closer to their woodland home.

I was feeling like this was waaaay later than last year for planting peas, but in fact it's only 3 weeks later. Only 3 weeks, but it's still very cool compared to last year when we were working in short sleeves.

It's also a lot wetter than last spring. Last year we had hardly any snowcover and had to start watering right from the start. This years snow was not epic by any means, but there was a reasonable amount, and it's been raining off and on this spring so we are off to a much better start in terms of water. Of course, we always have this one spot that sits as a puddle of water all through the spring after the snow melts. I don't know how to get rid of it or even if I should try.

A couple of years back we got our hands on an old ice-cream freezer which no longer works. We always intended to use it as a mini-greenhouse, but this is the first time we have filled it up and planted it. Last year there just didn't seem too much point, given how hot it got so fast.

Inside it, we've planted lettuce, broccoletto (new to us; don't know what it's like, except that it's a fast grower), baby bok choy and vivid choy, also new to us, but a chinese green with bright coloured stems. These are all fast growers and I hope they will provide us some fresh greens while we wait for things to get moving in the main garden.

We've started sprouting some of our sweet potatoes. This is a bit earlier than last year, when we didn't start them until about the 20th of April. This year we started them in late March, a month earlier, which I think is much better timing. If it doesn't start warming up soon though, they'll have to go out under hoop-houses to get them growing in June.

Tomatoes are all up and growing nicely. We've gone overboard, as usual. Peppers are much slower and spottier and I worry that we won't have enough. I worry about that every year, but we always have plenty.

We're growing a lot of onions this year. In addition to 5 named varieties, we are growing an unknown type of multiplier onion, some of our own saved seed from several varieties I let go to seed together, and seeds from both of the shallots that crossed with each other. And leek seed, which we got from Turkey.

The other thing I have big plans for this year is melons. I worry though, that if the bugs are half as bad as last year, they may not work very well. Last year was perfect melon growing weather, which is partly why I got so excited about them. The bugs, though; the bugs... our harvest was not nearly as good as it should have been because of them. I hope the colder winter has managed to cut them down to manageable levels this year. At any rate we will be planting all the cucurbits (melons, squash and cucumbers) at the end of the month - they grow quickly, should go out later than the tomatoes, and be smaller plants when they go.

And that's about it for the moment. We're trying to wrap  up a few indoor projects before things really get going outside, but other than that we're just waiting around for the weather to warm up. We'd be happy to have that happen any time now... waiting... waiting...

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