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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Garden report - the start of Spring

 We’re past the spring equinox by a week now and our garden is already growing nicely.  I recall that last year at this time we still had snow on the ground.  With the mild winter and the warm temps, we’ve got a lot to report about. 

Our yard doesn’t have a ton in the way of flowers, because I tend to use my sunny spots for edibles.  The only flowers we planted were tulips, astilbe, something my MIL gave us (I can’t remember the name) and bleeding hearts, because those are things we can put in the shady front yard.  The astilbe and tulips have poked through and have green foliage, but no blooms yet.  There were flowers in our yard before we moved in and some of those have started growing already too – peonies (a bunch, even under the black walnut tree), irises (still, after the bags-full we gave away last year), and roses (which I have tried to kill two years in a row, but keeps coming back - it’s too prickly).  The lilac tree is budding up nicely, as are the fruit trees (apple, two cherries, plum, peach, and pear), and the black walnut.  
This was taken March 19th - already budding before Spring

This is our garlic as of March 19th (still technically winter, but with spring/almost summer weather). 

This is our garlic as of last night, March 27th.  It’s getting very tall.  I am so excited that our garlic grew because last year’s crop died.  This will be our first successful crop!

We also have asparagus and rhubarb coming up. 

Asparagus in the foreground and rhubarb in the background

And we’ve got our hops growing, which should produce flowers this year so that we can make beer with them. 

As for fruits, the raspberries and grapevine seem to be alive.  I’m not so sure about the blueberries or juneberry, but I’ll give them some time.  I’ll likely be replacing the strawberries because the plants that we have haven’t really produced in the last two summers, but maybe I’ll just plant them in another area.  I do have some strawberry plants on order coming soon. 

Having variety allows you to still have produce even if one crop doesn’t do well.  There’s generally an abundance of some other crop to make up for it. 

I have already started planting some seeds.  There are several types of plants that do well in cooler weather and should be planted “as soon as the ground can be worked.”  In our zone, that’s generally late April or so.  This year, it was mid March, which made everyone wonder if you should really be planting that early.  But, one friend had success with her peas and other early crops, the nursery said to “go for it” except for the plants you’d generally start indoors (like tomatoes and peppers), and one farmer who provides us with our chickens thought that it was a great time to do the early stuff.  So, we planted peas, two types of lettuce, spinach, and broccoli raab.  If they don’t produce, then I’ve got more seeds to plant when it’s later in the season.  The weather forecast doesn’t show any freezing temps for the foreseeable future so I’m hoping we’ll be ok. 

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