Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Walk The April Garden

 I took this photo to show you how comfortably nestled the Palla Rossa radicchio is, now that it's outside in the garden (as of yesterday), but all I can see is the horribly squished rocket to the left. I guess I didn't hear its indignant shrieks of displeasure as I lowered the wire cage over top. And yes, I do feel terrible about this.
Poor arugula. If it's any consolation you get to go first to the table.
 Our weather is warming up dramatically but we're still in the Silly Season (in that no one can guarantee what the weather will REALLY be like), so when I put out the Mizuna (a lettucey brassica) and Valmaine (a Romaine lettuce from Salt Spring Island Seeds) seedlings I made sure to build in some protection. This is a perfectly okay time to transplant cold weather starts (brassicas, hardy lettuce, peas, broad beans, carrot seedlings), but make sure you protect them against a few things: cold (ie: I use Reemay at night), slugs (I use ground up eggshells scattered LIBERALLY), and assorted digging animalia and rodentia (I use old wire racks til starts are about 6" tall).

 Not sure if you can see this very clearly, but here's a Sugar Daddy pea that got left behind - in the greenhouse - in early February, and looky there -  it's covered with pods. Pods of peas.

I'm the type who plants VERY densely, so it's a bit of a surprise to see one single pea grow so large and so bushy on its own.

Does this make me want to seed more sparsely?

Um. No. It makes me want to plant more peas.
 I'm doing an experiment with the radicchio. Some went out into the garden, protected with Reemay, and some is staying in the greenhouse, in modules. I want to see if there's any advantage in planting certain cold-hardy seedlings earlier. Every year I make a guess as to when they should all head out to the garden for good, which means that every year I ALSO worry about there being some sort of Once In A Lifetime Freak Late Spring Frost.
 This is why I water strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with fish fertilizer from January to March.

(For those of you wondering what I mean by this statement: that is one fine set of strawberry plants sitting right there in front of your eyeballs. One FINE set.)

 Besides being one of my favourite gadgets, this item shows the highs and lows of the glass greenhouse.

This is what you can use to determine whether you keep the heat on at night or not.

My rule of thumb is this: when it's still going below 1ºC I keep the heat on; once nighttime temps are regularly over 6ºC I turn it off.

The Salad Garden (thank heaven it's labelled or I'd forget what it's there for sometimes) has a lot of plastic action right now, because it's a bit too early for outdoor carrots, spinach, and lettuce. Kept under nighttime cover, though, and it's not too early at all.

I took this shot to show off the rampant growth in the tomato seedlings but all I can see is the INCREDIBLY dirty glass behind it. My greenhouse glass cleaner nice window-cleaning husband worked hard on Sunday, cleaning the fir tree pollen off the roof, but neither of us saw the state of the back of the greenhouse. Ah well, focus on those seedlings instead.

Wondering what's blooming in the garden right now? Look no further than these charming little blue forget-me-nots.

Forget-me-not's glamorous doppleganger: a Jack Frost brunnera.
Old fashioned primulas.
More old-fashioned primulas.
Finally, my favourite: pulmonaria.

Lungwort. Dependable, multi-hued, and always cerulean.

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