The April Garden

Is it really May already? I’m already looking into June and it’s hard to believe that April was just here not long ago. When the early spring season starts to silently awaken the life in the mountains, the garden starts to come alive.

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Plants are bursting with new growth and blooms- The raspberries get their leaves in what seems like overnight, the strawberries are running everywhere, and bulbs flower with an array of colors.

Gram's spring bloom

This is the time of the year when the “to do” list is ever growing. Each time you cross one chore off the list, three more grow. April gardening is full of cleaning up and prepping spaces- hauling fertilizer, turning and tilling, mulching, thinning, and planting early seeds.

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The cold cops all go in the ground after their transition period to the outside world. This year I grew 5 different kinds of kale- Scarlet, Starbor, Nero di Toscana, Dwarf Blue, & Dwarf Siberian, 2 kinds of cauliflower- Amazing & Romanesco, and 5 varities of broccoli- Packman, Calabrese, gypsy, Atlantic, & Arcadia.

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Peas are always in early, along with the Swiss chard, beets, onions, escarole, lettuce, spinach, carrots, parsley root, and radishes. I love the snap peas, as well as oriental & snow peas, and pod peas. My favorite Swiss Chard variety is probably the bright lights, but I also grow individual varieties spanning the full color spectrum. This year I’m growing 7 varieties of beets, 11 types of carrots, 16 kinds of lettuce, 11 varieties of onions, 3 types of spinach, and 7 kinds of radishes.

Early seeds and plants just coming up

Early seeds and plants just coming up

The garlic is growing great. They look like strong and healthy stalks.

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The bed of leaves and pine needles keeps the weeds down, ads mulch, and insulates in the winter.

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The Swiss Chard is still growing strong from last year’s crop. The thick bed of leaves really keeps the root base alive  through the winter and they just flourish in the spring. I love having the chard, kale, collards, escarole, and radicchio greens to seek out for early spring meals.

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A goof friend of mine recently was telling me about her garden and all the wonderful greens, lettuce and onions she was picking and enjoying with her husband. With a big smile, she added, “Well, you know, things just grow good with all that love.”

Happy Gardening with Love!

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The Garden in January, February & March

Here’s what’s been happening in the garden and yard in January, February & March:

  • I cleaned out all of last years garden debris and pulled any posts or trellises.
  • Raspberries & Boysenberries– I got them all weeded, transplanted canes back into the bed, secured the support posts & wires, fertilized, and mulched. Ready to go for the season!
The garden in March.

The garden in March.

  • I pruned the lilacs and a few syringa and service berry bushes. I put cut branches into a rooting solution & planted 85 starts up on the hillside as an experiment to see if they will root. I may have missed the window of dormancy with the early spring, but it’s worth a shot.
My garden helper.

My garden helper.

  • I raked out the back flower bed (which I call Grama’s garden because many of the bulbs came from my Grama Day’s garden) & took down the temporary chicken fencing. I put fencing up for several years to give the plants a better chance of becoming established. With chickens roaming around this can be a real challenge.
One of Grama Day's Peonies I transplanted & haven't seen bloom yet.

One of Grama Day’s Peonies I transplanted & haven’t seen bloom yet.

Here’s what we’ve been eating from the garden in January, February & March:

  • We’re actually still eating a lot of fresh veggies from the garden. I’m digging carrots & beets every few weeks and have a good supply of bunching onions, leeks, Swiss chard, kale, collards, cilantro, parsley & other herbs like sage, oregano, mint, and thyme. The chives are just starting to poke out of their winter blanket.
Carrot and beet harvest in January.

Carrot and beet harvest in January.