It’s been a busy couple of weeks both in the garden and out and I’m long overdue for an update.
To start, we have the straw bales which, unlike last year, I’m conditioning this time. I picked up 5 new bales about a month ago but am also going to try re-using the ones from last year. The old bales are still holding together pretty well, likely because they didn’t really get going until the 2nd half of the summer. To help them stay upright, I sank some u-posts around the bales and wrapped them with chicken wire. I decided to do the same with the new bales to see if I can get 2 seasons out of them instead of one.
I had read on various sites that the bales would smell for a while, but reading about it and actually experiencing it are two very different things. Oh my God, they STINK to high heaven! I mean, P.U.!
|My nose may not be happy, but the flies are...|
Now, I’ve just finished the “heavy dosing” of the bales and the amount of fertilizer is being cut in half for the next few days, after which they only need to be watered. The smell is supposed to dissipate and I’m just hoping that’s sooner rather than later.
The squash that is going into the new bales has just been sown as I was a bit late to start conditioning because of our trip. Since the old bales don't need to be conditioned, I did start some seeds a few weeks ago for those:
|Squash seedlings for old bales -|
These are due to be hardened off this week
|Every crown survived their first winter - hurray!|
|Unfortunately there was no good way to take this photo as the |
blueberry bush blends in pretty well with the pine mulch
The allium beds are all on the hilltop this year. The garlic is doing really well; I side-dressed it with some organic fertilizer a couple of weeks ago & I’m hoping that will impact favourably on the size of the bulbs.
|Onion seedlings transplanted on April 24|
The onion bed also contains the perennial bunching onions. They survived the winter just fine and I transplanted them from the old onion bed to the new:
|Nebuka Perennial Bunching Onions|
Once I dug them up, I separated them and spread them out in a 2x4 section of the new bed. This is what they looked like a couple of days ago:
|Transplanted Bunching Onions|
I’m still not completely sold on perennial bunching onions but I want to make sure that I give them a good trial before I make a decision as to whether or not they are worth it.
Also on the hilltop is the potato bed which was planted up on April 17.
|Potato bed laid out and ready to plant|
I decided to give this a try because last year I noticed that none of the potatoes I harvested were in the “hilled” layer of soil – they were all in the lower portion of the bed where the potatoes were originally planted. Mark wrote an inquisitive post about this as well and, from the comments he received, hilling the potatoes may not be worth the bother. Also, hilling the soil in a raised bed is trickier than on open ground so if this works out, it would save me a lot of hassle.
The potato plants have started to poke out from beneath the straw, but unfortunately, the first ones to make their appearance ended up getting nipped by frost:
|Frost bitten potato plant|
|Some healthy, green growth on potatoes that were slower to emerge|
|Golden Sweet Snow Peas|
Germination on Aladdin (front) is much sparser
than that of Sabre (Rear)
|Sugar Snaps (front, left) & fava beans in the rest of the bed|
The Ianto’s favas (left, rear in photo) will also be grown against the mesh, but for the shorter Extra Precoce Violetto (right side of photo), I created a grid support using rebar, bamboo & twine. I didn’t do a great job of supporting them last year, so I’m hoping that this sturdier setup works better.
|Supports for short favas on left; tall favas & peas on right|
|Rapini in the front with a variety of early greens in the rest of the bed|
|Claytonia (front, left); Arugula (rear); Radishes (front, right)|
There are a few other beds planted up in the main garden including lettuce, chard, brassicas such as broccoli and Chinese greens, etc., but I’ll leave updates on those for another post.
I gave both the cherry & plum tree a good trim this spring. The cherry was trimmed more to control it's height than anything else as I had a very hard time netting it last year. There are still a couple of long, wonky side branches on it, but since I took so much off the top this time, I decided to forgo trimming them. Those can wait until next year.
The plum tree was similarly pruned, but in this case, I concentrated more on the length of the branches. Some were so long that they almost reached the ground.
You have heard me complain infinitum about the weather this spring, but I can’t help worrying. Both of these trees were in flower when we had a series of up and down temperature swings including snow pellets in the middle of May. Hopefully the few frosty nights & heavy pruning didn't put the kibosh on our harvest this year.
And what's in bloom around the garden right now? Quite a bit!
|Weeping Siberian Peashrub|
|Bachelor Buttons (Cornflower)|
|Purple Leaf Sandcherry|
And last, but certainly not least is this guy:
That's it for today...but before I sign off, a little spoiler alert - I'll be back on Harvest Monday :)