Thursday, April 13, 2017

It's looking a lot like Spring, or I'm starting to believe that winter is over

I go through this every year at this time.  I just find it hard to accept that winter is done, and the outside world is once again - well, livable and green.  It's a matter of conditioning I guess.  Expectations are suppressed because winter is, for most of us, a steaming load of crap that has to be endured.  Then when it's finally over, and a month ago it looked like it was over when it was not, that's equally hard to accept, because it may just be a tease.  But I'm finally coming to grips with the reality that it's really getting nice outdoors and will likely stay that way.  I'll be fine, really.   I don't need any pity.

The cattails in the upper end of the pond are showing green shoots.  I imagine in a month or so this will go from brown to green.  Cattails are a recent development in the pond.   The redwing blackbirds gather in them in the evening, with plenty of squabbling and arguments over territory.  I'm hoping that the cattails will expand over the upper end of the pond.  They are very good at filtering out the silt and cleaning the water.

The flower beds are coming to life.  All of the hostas have at the least put up some shoots, although some are far ahead of the others.  After five or six years, this is the first year that the helleboros has flowered.  It nearly died in the front bed and perked up when it was moved to the shade bed behind the back deck.  I'm really liking this plant.

Another project is the bed over the septic tanks.  Last autumn I removed the spirea and carpet juniper because they were getting too large to be near the tanks.  Last week I killed the weeds with Roundup, being careful to avoid spraying the creeping phlox, then added some topsoil.  Today I marked the outlines of the tanks with flags.  I plan to put in perennials outside the footprint of the tanks and plant groundcover directly over the tanks.

The field peas planted as a cover crop in the squash bed have come up, although germination has been spotty so far.  Unfortunately the sugar snap peas planted along the trellis have not come up.  Guess I put too much faith in seeds from 2014.

There are two beds remaining that have not been prepped, actually one because after this picture was taken the front bed was turned over with the shovel.  It will be planted with parsnip and god knows what else in a few days. 

I'm about ready to bail on the thyme.  It has shown a few hints of green in the dead debris but hasn't started to leaf out.  A month ago the plant was greening up then took a hit in the late cold snap.  It just can't seem to recover.

Not so for the Victoria rhubarb.  It was planted a month or so ago and has already put out a new leaf, so I have to assume it is happy in its new location.

The first two sets of brassicas are in the beds and doing well, although in retrospect I could have done better with the spacing.   I set the broccoli on the north side of the bed since it is the tallest plant, with cauliflower and kohlrabi in the middle and cabbage on the south side.  By the time they begin to crowd each other, the kohlrabi will come out.

The third set of brassicas is in the cold frame, and the fourth set is under the lights in the house.  In the back are peppers, left over strawberry plants, onions and a replacement thyme.  The peppers that I started are Magyar paprika (from Renee's), and Mosquitero and Bastan ancho, while the largest is a jalapeno that was bought.  I still have to buy some sweet pepper seedlings.

The earthbox planted with lettuce was taken out of the coldframe and set on a bench that I built recently.  This spot is perfect for lettuce.  When the apple tree leafs out the lettuce will go into shade in late afternoon.  I plan to put two potato sacks on this bench, and the frame will keep the foliage from falling down.

That's it for now.


Phuong said...

Busy busy. I think cattails are lovely. Your brassica seedlings and lettuce are looking amazing. It's nice when spring finally arrives.

We're getting 80 degree weather this weekend, it's time to get the cole crops out of the greenhouse or they're going to suffer.

Margaret said...

I feel the same way - accepting that spring is here, but always on the lookout for Mother Nature to pull the rug out from under us. That looks to be great planning with the lettuce - It's always nice when things work out that way.

Hurray for the flowering Hellebore! I'm glad that your patience was well rewarded.

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