Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Springtime garden update

I love April in the garden. Everything is warming up and drying out from our typical March sogginess (especially bad this year, with our record rainfall). Everyone's been enjoying the sun breaks as of late, including Mini-kitty (who is now 14 years young... she's become a pro at lounging). 

The peas, seeded on President's Day weekend, are a good 6" tall and climbing. The brassicas, which were seeded just last weekend, have already popped as well.

The garlic is doing great and is well on its way to our finest ever harvest (fingers crossed).  I planted four varieties this year, all purchased from Uprising Seeds in Bellingham. All of this garlic is bred in the beautiful Methow Valley.

We're big on alliums around here. In addition to the garlic, we're growing a handful of shallots, some Alissa Craig onions, a few leeks and some green onions (we poke those in wherever we can fit them).  I also love picking up these bundles of Walla Walla sweet onions from McLendon's Hardware every year:

The bundle costs $3.50 and contains 50-60 healthy onion starts. I spent this past Sunday planting them, in the hopes of filling the allium bed. I put one onion in each 6" square of our grids, and the bundle filled the bed up perfectly. I love when that happens.

I also spent some time planting a few other treats: 8 strawberry plants and a few herbs to fill in from some casualties due to our mid-December deep freeze (sage, oregano and thyme). We'll see if those herbs come back, but in case they don't, I planted these guys anyhow.  I also started nasturtiums in the brassica bed (they help keep bugs away from the kale and broccoli, plus they just look beautiful), and I planted a few rows of quinoa in the flower bed to attract birds. I couldn't resist the colors.

I spent some time weeding and cleaning out most of last year's brassica bed (leaving the kale, which is still producing, until the new kale is big enough to eat), and I came across this healthy volunteer oregano.  I love volunteer plants, and our garden is full of them this year. The migration seems to be from the front yard to back, especially the columbines. Those beauties have taken over everywhere and I love it. I'm not sure if thanks goes to the birds, to the wind or to some rodents, but I love seeing how plants migrate. Anyhow, I transplanted this oregano to the front herb garden, next to his new brother. We'll see how they do.

It's lovely to see trees popping and the early pollinators getting to work.This is a sweet little Mason bee on our blooming Italian plum. He landed on my purple garden gloves, presumably attracted to the color, but I moved him to the plum in the hopes that he'll help us with a healthy plum harvest this year. Mason bees are one of the most important pollinators in the garden- I'm hoping to put some out in our garden in the next week, stay tuned.

Predictably, Chase found the only weakness in my dog-proofing system and dug a hole where I had just planted some lettuces. I reseeded with some arugula, so no harm no foul, Chase buddy. Also, the weakness has been fixed, so good luck trying to sabotage my plants again!  Despite his occasional destructive tendencies, Chase is actually turning out to be a pretty good garden buddy, just like his dog sister.

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