Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ice flows, bunnies and pea trellises

Despite five days of (relatively) lovely cycling weather last week, winter has temporarily returned with cold temperatures and new snow. The river valley is full of bunnies, gnawed branches and ice flows.

The yard is slightly less snow-bound but it still icy.

That said, the bunnies are starting to turn noticeably brown so I'm hopeful we'll shortly free from the snow pack. Parts of the front garden are almost melted out.

To keep us occupied, Jess and I built two more of the 5x5' steel conduit pea trellises that we built last year. These workers very well and seem indestructible.

I expect we'll put these in the back yard alongside the garage to give us some additional peas. My copy of Alberta home gardener has arrived so I'll spend the afternoon looking at pretty pictures and imagining the garden in three months.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spinach seeds in the cold frames

After a lovely bike ride and then a long walk, Jess and I flipped up the cold frame glass and moved some dirt around. We could dig down about four inches in one and it was about room temperature so I decided to drop on spinach seeds in and see what happened.

Jess was in charge of planting while I worked the camera. Then we tromped around the back yard, scared some rabbits and discovered some of last autumn's garlic starting to melt out. I think this was a German hard-necked variety that put on a bit of growth before freeze up.

We're starting to get the point where enough dirt as melted out in the front yard that we are going to have bare soil very rapidly. I'm keen to see some irises start to come up while we wait for things to warm up for planting. Looks like there will be some nasty cleaning up to with leaves and needles and whatnot having blown in after our last rake of the fall.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Signs of life in the yard!

Today was a beautiful spring day--warm enough to go for a walk at lunch in shorts (and a light parka...). I ran into two coyotes out for a mid-day stroll.

The cold frames on the south side are heating up and I could get my fingers down about an inch or so today. The temperature inside was about 20C. I have a couple of packs of spinach seeds that say "plant when soil is warm enough to work." I wonder if this qualifies?

The strawberries are often the first things growing. They tend to overwinter quite well. Above you can see an immature shoot from last year coming back to life. And below is a brand new shoot poking up through the snow.

The raised beds behind the garage are often the first to thaw out. These had two solid feet of snow on them on Sunday (I stood on it to clean the eaves) and will likely be free for snow by Saturday. Still a ways to plant anything (except maybe some beet seeds).

Around the front, I found what I think is a tiny violet that has self-seeded everywhere just getting going.

I expect this will be a quiet weekend, although if the roads thaw a teeny bit more I will get my bike out. The Xmas lights are all down. I may also prune back on of my hedges--I'd like to replace it over time with raspberry and saskatoon.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Organizing the seeds

With some nicer weather and some spare time this morning, I wandered over to Apache Seeds and looked to fill in a few gaps in my seed box. While I have a fair bit of leftover corn seed, I was looking for something a bit different and settled on Hooker's Sweet Corn. I'll be growing these around back--hopefully far enough away from the corn in the front yard that that they don't cross pollinate.

In amongst one of the corn patches I'm keen to try this new squash I picked up. Looks like an immense amount of flesh and apparent stores well.

I also snagged some of these Chioggia beets--which are so much fun to grow and cut into. Not that I'm short on beet seeds--just fun to buy a few more. I also grabbed some netting so we can make a couple of more trellises for peas.

I dropped in on the wine making store while I was in the strip mall and talked about making mead. I'm not sure i need another project, but mead has a lot of appeal and I've quite liked the bottles I've sampled over the years.