Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wishing for Warmth!

Spring has sprung in Washington and, true to Seattle form, it is changeable! No mere weatherman can prophecy its hourly whims. Generally cool, with sudden showers and gusty winds this month. Our dogwood tree is glorious this year, bouncing back from a pruning and reveling in all the increased sunlight from the front yard remodel.

Our new bunny has made himself part of the family and has reached about 5 lbs so far (he will be about 10 as an adult). Oscar is quite a character and takes his job as manure-producer very seriously. He loves everyone, including the dog, but he is seriously Daddy's boy. He goes crazy for my husband! We are planning to move him outside in the next month or two, but have decided that he needs to be by the back porch instead of the compost pile for safety and convenience. Oscar is getting used to wearing a harness, and if he accepts it, we plan to let him have the run of the backyard eventually.

In the front yard, I have planted 3 beds with my spring crops, and they are looking good for the most part. The asparagus were, for the second time, an epic fail. Their squares have been reallocated to more cooperative crops. Broccoli, kale and lettuce are happily transplanted and bok choy, carrots, peas, sweet peas, and beets are up from seed. A red potato is sending up its first stem, but I'm still waiting to see life from the white potato. The cherry tree flowered profusely, but the plum has only leaves (need to research that a bit). The 4 raspberries look marvelous and are leafing out healthily. I moved one of my orchard mason bee condos to the front yard to help with pollination. My 3rd and 4th veggie beds are leveled and are near ready for the planting of summer crops on Mother's Day weekend.

Indoors, the cherry and Brandywine tomatoes have gone insane and are 4 feet high, with blossom buds! I have started taking them outside every day to harden them off for transplanting and to slow down their rampant indoor growth. On the nursery table, peppers, basil, zucchini, pumpkins, marigolds, watermelons and muskmelons await the big day in May. I even started a few Japanese eggplants from seed to see how well the plants do, although the fruit won't have time to mature this time. I have received a lot of flower seed varieties lately and I plan to add more flowers to my veggie beds and forgo some lettuce squares. I want my garden this year to be full of many veggie varieties and color!

In the backyard, one bed has been amended and planted with 2 rows of snap peas, bush beans, and broccoli, and flowers. The herb bed looks great, and I moved lots of volunteer curly parsley into it. I need to pick up some thymes to round out the role call.

I have learned a lot by my seed starting and bed prep this year. One thing is that I will use peat pots or sterile mix to start my seeds in the future. I have too many mysterious seedlings coming up by using my own soil mix! I also have had some bug problems in the nursery. I have also learned that bargain cow manure is no bargain! Not well rotted, and LOTS of grass coming in.

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