A mixed bed in all it's late summer glory

A mixed bed in all it's late summer glory

Friday, May 8, 2015

A wonderful spring!

The world may be a mess, here in the Shire it is a wonderful spring. These double narcissi are still blooming after the regular daffodils are finished. Picture from May 3.
As reported, snow melted early. Then we had an alternation of sun and rain that was just perfect for growing things. Everything is early, at least compared to the last few years. I do remember this being normal in our earliest Kootenay times. It would be so nice to have a clear record, but I don't. This blog is as close as it gets. The trees are still bright green but fully leafed out. Spirea has started to blossom.
It is now May 7. Food production is a bit later than last year, when we had abundant salads from the greenhouse by May 11. That is the price we pay for taking off the roof. We are making up for lost time fast. We are getting green onions, sorrel, the odd leaf from overwintered Lucullus chard and the first lettuces, and best of all, asparagus!
As usual I wish it were 4 weeks earlier. Time is going much too fast. I am a poky puttering worker at the best of times, and besides my energy tends to fluctuate. Oh,  the things I could do if only I were at peak level and totally focused all the time! I am slowly learning to not, in the flush of high energy, make promises I cannot keep when it is lower. That only took about half a century.
My last serious garden work days were spent, I almost say wasted, on moving perennials around in the big sunny flower border. This ticks me off because it is work I thought I had done last fall. I had a lovely patch of bee balm that was in need of revival. I had dug it all up, fertilized it and planted pieces  over a wide area. This is a member of the mint family. Need I say more? I expected a healthy, major emergence in spring. Not. Only the strong big chunks returned and the patch was overrun by weeds. I blame the early frost and late snow. Meanwhile the vigourous, much loved yellow loosestrife got hit by deer again. It also looked in need of some TLC. Those rhizomous (is that a word?) perennials tend to go off in search of new ground if they are not happy. I wasted time trying to sort both patches out, and then decided to take drastic measures: dig up both patches, rework the ground and made them trade places. That took a whole day.We had a good rain afterwards and they look good. 
The beebalm looks skimpy but the stuff spreads.

The top garden is still waiting for attention. However, once I get there it will be instant greenery. The blessed greenhouse is full of thriving bedding plants. I worried about the lateness of tomatoes and Brussels sprout starts, but they are looking super healthy, vigorous and already bigger than when I took these pictures two days ago.
There is an immovable, huge, but more or less flat topped rock underneath the red tub that is closest to the front. It dictates the layout for that section. I scored two more of the tubs, which were originally used to store some animal food supplement. They will be used for the real heat lovers, peppers and eggplant. They serve as a safe place for bedding plants in the meantime. The farthest visible tub holds a quickie planting of arugula.
The greenhouse does not look nearly as fruitful as a year ago at this time. Give it a week. The small bed that did so incredibly well last year got a generous sprinkle of COF and was planted mainly in mesclun mix, to be followed by snap beans. It is up, just hard to see. The two boxes at the end are also still awaiting their final destiny. Both have been fitted with a trellis. Snow peas in one are up, yeah! They will be followed by nasturtiums in one box and yellow pear tomatoes in the other one. One box will hold a total of 4 tomato plants, the other one broccoli, Lucullus chard and radicchio.

The tipi of poles, just barely visible here, will be devoted to cucumbers this year. 

Speaking of boxes, I really want to grow more food closer to the dwelling in the raised beds. This section was not fenced and originally planned to be a herb garden. It was also used to store the bedding plants I was selling at the farmers market. I am not doing that anymore. It just takes too much time and something had to give. Last year I experimented with rebar and net by way of fencing. Without a top rail the netting tended to sag. I will play with PVC this year. I have not yet decided whether it will be hoops or poles or some of each. 
 But for starters I rigged up an improvised net cover over the three small ones. They are planted in green onions and early greens and I am quite pleased with myself.
To be continued.

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