Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bulbs, beets and asparagus

The past week has included temperatures in the 20s which means the plants are growing quickly!

Most of the trees and shrubs are leafing out and the lawn is starting to look quite green. Around the south side of the house, the oregano is back again this year.

In the back we put in the potatoes (blue caribe), carefully digging around the patches of violet and the few stray bulbs.

A few of the seed potatoes were big enough to cut so Jess was tasked with this. Apparently my knife-use supervisor was a bit too aggressive ("I know how to cut a potato, dad.").

In the front yard, the garlic is up about six inches, the onions are starting to poke through the soil and the first of the beets are germinating. No sign of the carrots yet but they are always slower.

The last of the tulipe tarda are flowering and the rest of the bulbs are getting big enough that the should flower in the ext three weeks.

We got off our bikes on Thursday night to look for wild asparagus. Jess spotted last year's seed heads and the shoots were up 8 to 10 inches. This is about two weeks ahead of schedule--which would be about where I think we are elsewhere in the garden.

The peas and rocket I planted in the cold frames are doing well. Looking at the forecast, I may pull the glass off this week as I will need to set a trellis in place for the peas to climb (they are about 3 inches high and will need some support soon). I think we'll wait another two weeks before planting the beans but we might drop in some leaf lettuce seed this week.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Spring flowers

April is fast slipping away and we've made a fair bit of progress in the yard. Many of the perennials are up early, like these violets. I've also moved a bunch of daylilies around and fiddled with the soil in a new bed.

Since quite a lot of stuff just kind of has to wait a few more weeks, I've been cleaning up a bunch of winter debris and tonight we'll have a fire to burn a bunch of twigs and branches.

Last weekend we did a bunch more seeding, including peas, rocket and radishes. The stuff in the cold frames has already germinated. The trees in the valley are also starting to leaf out.

Around the front we got the onions in as well as the carrot seeds. The garlic has also been growing and I suspect we'll have an early harvest.

There is a bit more shade in the back. I've been weeding (mostly crab grass and purple bell flower) and the rhubarb is just coming up. We have some strawberries to move this weekend.

I'm also hopeful that we can get some seed potatoes this weekend. I'd like to put in caribe blue as those did really week last time.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Beets, peas and Jerusalem artichokes

Early spring continued this week with temperatures as high as 20C. The bulbs are coming up in the garden which will add some nice colour soon.

I got ambitious this weekend and dug up the Jerusalem artichokes on the side of the house. Five plants yielded about 35 artichokes. We plunked 29 back in the ground (in a slightly sunnier place in the hope that they would flower this year) and roasted the other six. They have a turnip-like texture (fibrous!) and taste a bit nutty or earthy. Maybe halfway between a turnip and a potato? Interesting enough and fun to have an early harvest.

Jess and I also finished prepping the front bed and put up the bean trellis. This involved work with the sledgehammer. She looks pretty cock-sure here but the process of driving the stakes was a bit stressful. Controlling a ten-pound sledge requires me to pay a lot of attention and I'm twice Jessica's size. The trellis itself is vastly more plumb than the picture suggests (I must have had the camera on an angle).

We then planted some early beets because the soil was warm. Around back we also planted some peas and arugula in a cold frame and did some more work on the beds.

Lots of early plants are up including this violet (that has infested the garden).

After a long bike ride yesterday I went back to work on the south side of the house and pulled out a bunch of orange daylilies to make room for a bean-bed. This was hard work! I ran across lots of worms and bugs in the leaf litter, including this ladybug.

We have a tiny bit more early seeding to do (peas, make some kale) and quite a bit of weeding and general clean-up. I'd also like to get some onions in the ground but it looks like we missed the early shipment of onion sets so that sounds like a next week project.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

More seeding and early garden maintenance

Our early spring continues with the birds (these are waxwings) flocking up and the geese starting to fly overhead.

Jess and I continued the seeding yesterday, with some marigolds.

The tomatoes we seeded two weeks ago are now germinating under lights in the basement.

Outside, the garden is beginning to wake up with the early tulips in the back pushing up through the soil. These survived the snow we had earlier this week.

The spinach we planted in the cold frame has also come up.

I few years ago I snagged some wild onion seeds from the river valley and dusted them along the south side of the house. These have started to turn into a new patch and are back again this year. To encourage its spread, I spread the seeds from its heads last year around in the same spot.

We stopped in at Apache seeds this morning and picked up 1000 pounds of cow manure to add to the beds. Many places are still froze, but the top couple of inches of the raised beds were soft enough to stir in the manure.

Around front, last year's garlic is starting to emerge. I was a bit worried that nothing had emerged yet so I'm happy to see these shoots.

I left Jess to spread some of the manure around in the front beds. We're slowly improving the soil in a nasty little corner of the garden. She's also keen to pull out the irises below her window and put in some strawberry plants. But we'll need to wait a month or so before we can start that project.

With the weather looking better as spring break moves on, I am hopeful we can get the rest of the manure spread out (some of the bags were frozen) and maybe look for some onions to plant. If I get ambitious, I will also pull the Jerusalem artichokes and move them.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tomato seeding

We've been busy the past few weeks with some early season chores. The snow is mostly gone except in a few spots (like the strawberry beds) and lots of stuff is starting to grow.

I noticed that we missed a few onions last fall and they are starting to put up early shoots alongside last years leaves. I decided to pull the winter mulch off the seed beds to warm them up. Since it will still be awhile before we seed, this is a good chance for weeds to get a head start. I actually spent 30 minutes last night weeding out front--amazing what will grow as soon as the soil thaws.

Inside, we have planted some tomatoes under lights in the basement. I'll likely pick up a few starts but we decided to try a bicoloured tomato from seed this year.

This weekend we'll likely seed some marigolds (need to find another tray in the garage). As you can see below, nothing makes Jess happier than playing in the dirt. She disappeared in the back yard for an hour this week while I was raking the leaves off the side lawn.

If I get ambitious this week, we may get some sheep dip for the beds and get them ready for beet and radish seeding in April. We need just slightly more thaw to get the onions in as well.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

An early start to the gardening season

It has been a very mild winter so far and, with two days of +15C, much of the lawn is exposed and the river ice is just starting to get translucent.

What this means is that a few days of glass on the cold frame and the ground was nice and thawed. I left in an old kale plant that is showing signs of life and then banged in a bunch of spinach seeds Jess picked out at Apache Seeds this morning.

As I was puttering around, I noticed this violet had peaked out. I suspect it is one of last year's blooms--although the plants beneath the leaves looked very bright green. I also revealed a strawberry plant that was enjoying some heat n the south side of the house.

I pulled some pots out of the garage so we can start tomato seeds next weekend. I ran across the glass for two other cold frames. These boxes are still full of snow but I put the glass on to see what might happen this week.

The coyotes have been very active these past few weeks while we have been walking. I haven't managed to get a decent picture but I did get my camera out tonight as one watched walk by.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas!

The garden is well and truly frozen and we're enjoying winter (and the coming of spring!).

We should be back more regularly in February as we mull what to do this year in the yard.