Can you believe it is just about May? I should say, do I believe it is just about May? I wouldn’t think so based on the cold front blast this past week that reminded me what it looks like when it both rains and snows at the same time (if you don’t remember, it usually looks like hail). This chilly weather was a bit detrimental to my garden, but those little seeds always pull through.
This week things are finally coming up spring, as the temps slowly rise back into the 50’s. And, as such I am enjoying my daily morning walkabouts with glee. I have this little routine I like to do in the morning:
- Wake up grudgingly to the alarm at 5:30 am
- Go back to sleep for at least 8 minutes
- Hear the coffee grinder whirling away (CFO’s most important responsibility)
- Roll out of bed
- Pick self off floor
- Four minutes later find my self in the kitchen with cup of coffee
- Sit on couch drinking said coffee
- CFO goes upstairs to ready himself for bacon-bringing-home job
- Head to mud room, fill up 3 gallons of water in buckets
- Circle the yard in light dance steps watering things that grow and smiling like an idiot
For the last step, I generally start at my poor man’s greenhouse, walk to the back raised beds, loop around the fruit trees, come back to the herb garden, around the deck to the hydrangeas, bleeding hearts and turtle heads, up front to the asparagus, bulbs and hostas, then finally to the berry canes. The whole process takes me about 30 minutes and gives me a chance to see how things are progressing, and identify problems early on.
Today was a most exciting walkabout because real evidence of green growing things can be seen and now I know the fickle vixen we call spring is here for real this time. I am the first to admit that I am the laziest gardener there is. Not because I am lazy, per se, but because I am already busy and AWOL 50% of the time because of my bill-paying job, so I try to balance garden chores to get maximum reward, with minimal effort. So some of you might have full on industrial supplies of spring lettuce at this point in the season, but since I nearly exclusively plant from seed and do nothing special to my soil or environment other than compost and bird netting, growth tends to be about as seasonal as it gets. Take a look at my future dinner guests.
Bloomsburg spinach sprouts and fast growing Apollo arugula. Leafy greens will be the first homegrown meal this May. I also have four types of heading lettuce, mixed leaf lettuce, and endive planted out.
Peas don’t mind a little cold weather, in fact, it may have encouraged them. If I blink, these little guys will be seven feet tall and falling overthemselves. Next week I will be trellising. Here we have Golden Sweet peas and Amish Snap peas in the back.
The chives are looking lush and tender already. These are always the first to emerge. You can’t kill a chive plant. Chives are the hydras of the plant world. Cut off one head, and two more will grow. But, they make fantastic flowers that bees and other pollinators enjoy, so I plant en mass where I need a little pollinator loving.
Not surprisingly, there is nothing here in the herb garden but vermin. I have not actually planted herbs yet because the deck will need a coat of sealant, and it’s not exactly a fertilizer, if you get my drift. Once the deck is sealed, I can build up the soil and put in the herbs. I hope to have some success this year, though with the new squatters that have moved in and enjoy their late night parties, one cannot predict. I did manage to catch one of them up to no good.
Truthfully, when I first caught him in one of my new vole traps, I had a complete freak out because I realized that I had planned to set traps, but I had not planned for what I would do if they worked. I panicky called a friend, drove this little guy to the lush manicured neighborhoods of a nearby town, and we released him to the wilds of Milwaukee suburbia. I promised he would be reunited with his family soon, because, well, I’m ordering two more traps to beef up security.
The cherry trees and pears have swollen buds, signaling the start of lush vegetation. The cherry blossoms are in full display in our nation’s capital, but here they won’t arrive until May on my little tart (cherry).
Now this is some real magic. I still have another year left to baby this little patch of goodness, but I love seeing asparagus shoot upwards in the spring. Most people have no idea how asparagus grows or where or why or what, but as a plant it actually looks nothing like you would expect. Once the stems shoot up past 8 inches or so, the little asparagus tips we are accustomed to will actually produce branches with feathery, fern-like leaves. I have two varieties here, Purple Passion and Jersey Knight, both hybrid all-male varieties that should not produce berries (yes, asparagus makes little red berries). If maintained, this should provide 20 years of homegrown asparagus in the spring. Are you writhing in excitement yet?
So there it is, there is the progress on the homestead. The compost was delivered a week ago and both garden beds are moving right along. I get a compost/topsoil mix delivered by a local compost facility. Its not organic, it’s not blessed by Buddhist monks, and doesn’t have buried cow heads and moon dancing or anything fancy. It’s good old fashioned compost made by vegetable and plant material collected from around the county. But it grows good food and I don’t have to add anything except, well, more compost. Check out the garden plan for what I’ve got in the ground right now.
Playing in dirt. This is spring to me.