Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Tis’ a Wet Spring

It has been a cooler and wetter spring this year than normal. The average temperature for today in Albany is 72F. the high was 60F. This has been typical this spring.

Upside

There have been advantages to this cool weather. I can still pull the wild onions that litter my perennial beds out by hand. The mostly come out whole. By this time of year they usually snap off because the ground is too dry. Other weeds also pull out more easily except of course dandelions which manage to cling to the soil no matter what the condition.

I did have to water the lawn and veggies for the first week or of June so but for the past four days the rain has done that for me. Rain provides a better soaking than irrigation does and there is something about rain water that promotes growth better than city water. In part it may be the chlorine and fluoride that come with city water.

My cool loving lettuce loves this weather. No threat of bolting in this cool cloudy weather.

Downside

Weeds also love this weather. Weed seeds that might not sprout at this point are and growing weeds are thriving. I continue to battle them (pull them) but cannot keep up with the entire yard.

My sun loving plants, especially the tomatoes, do not love this weather. Their growth is slowed and setting fruit is not happening as yet.

There are fewer insects around, especially bees, which means less pollination. On the other hand the water sitting about in puddles and containers will produce more mosquitoes.

It is likely that later this month or for sure in July the heat will return and things will return more to normal. That is my expectation anyway. I am not complaining. Cool or hot each condition has its advantages and disadvantages. For now anyway the garden looks happy and all is well.

Happy Gardening,

Dan Murphy

Spring is Here!

Today is the official beginning of spring this year. The daffodils have been up. The sun was out yesterday (though it is to rain today and all week) and the high yesterday was forecast at 50F. It was cold yesterday morning though with a thin layer of ice on the windshield of the car.

On Friday my box of seeds arrived from Territorial Seed. My plan was to plant some of them in the greenhouse today to get started on my “starts”. If the warmth continues I may be able to plant some cool weather plants next weekend.

I got busy with visits from family and other things so the planting will have to wait until later in the week.

A soil test kit also arrived with the seeds so I hope to test the garden soil today to see what is deficient. Then I can amend as needed. With no cover crops this year my garden boxes have been pounded with rain all winter and we’ve had a lot of rain. I expect I will have to dig the garden boxes to loosen the soil.

I am persuaded by several sources that using the electric tiller is not necessary or an advantage. I will let the worms do the tilling as discussed in this Fine Gardening article.

My best laid plans to plant yesterday failed but I will get those seeds started soon – hopefully today.

Happy Gardening,

Dan Murphy

 

Spring in the Vegetable Garden

thumb_IMG_0078_1024It is spring in the vegetable garden. Here are some photos of the garden boxes with winter cover crops. They are all planted in clover. Over the next week or so the cover crops will be removed and the planting will soon begin.

Peas will go in first, then in May more veggies to follow. I may get some greens in during April as well. I do not usually plant much early in the season, most planting will be in May. I’ve had better luck with that.

I will be testing the soil this year and will post the results soon. I will then amend accordingly and all will be ready.

thumb_IMG_0074_1024flowers002.jpgthumb_IMG_0077_1024flowers002.jpg

Happy Gardening,
Dan Murphy

Spring!

Spring has sprung. Day before yesterday was the spring equinox. We now enter the six months of more light. Three months of increasing light followed by three months of diminishing light to bring us back to where we are now in September.

Our weather has been warmer and drier than usual however for the past week we have seen rain. Not a lot of rain, but enough. The weeds are delirious – springing forth in their fastest possible growth mode. Everything that has so far budded out is green and thriving.

032215-1As you see from the photo here the blue berry bushes have tiny buds but are not yet open. They remain leafless and asleep reluctant to awaken fully to spring. This will change soon however.

There are at least 9 asparagus poking up through the ground. You cannot see them in the photos but they are there and testing my discipline – this is season 2 for them and not yet ready for cutting and eating. I will let them grow but wait until next year to harvest. My mouth waters at the thought of truly fresh asparagus from the garden.

Notice the two wire cylinders full of last fall’s leaves. Well, they were full. In November they were heaping full to the top. They have now settled to half full. Before the leaves are done breaking down they will be only a few inches in depth. But long before that I will have to remove them from those garden boxes for planting.

You have cannot help notice the weeds everywhere. My knee is still too painful to kneel on so I am limited to using the hoe. I have to use the hoe a whole lot more though.

032215-2My chief nemesis, the wild onions, are everywhere. I’ve concluded that I must have imported more of them in a load of compost that I brought in last year. Most unfortunate. They must be dug out by hand and it is a formidable job, especially when one cannot kneel.

The bulbs out front are all but exhausted now. We had a beautiful display of daffodils and tulips from late January to just recently. Now only a few tulips and tiny daffodils remain.

Spring is definitely here and it is exciting. The serious work of weeding and soon of planting is upon us. I love it!

Time to Get Serious

Daily life seems to persistently interfere with my gardening. At the end of February I thought surely I would have my beds ready for planting and the early crops in by the end of March.

March turned out to be very full month. In early March winter’s darkness continues to rule in the evenings after work so that the only real time to get anything done is on the weekend. Of course the weekend is also the only time to get a lot of other things done as well.

One weekend it is raining steady and I use the time to work on my taxes. Another weekend is nice but it is our anniversary weekend and we escape to the coast for a short vacation. Then another weekend there is a wedding to attend and family over. Then a business trip to New Mexico that wears me out. These are all great things and all enjoyable things. But the garden gets no attention.

I manage to find a bit of time to start some seeds in the green house but that is about it. Meanwhile Mother Nature is not busy with other things. She is very attentive to the coming of spring. Her insects are developing in their nests and preparing for the first waves of invasion – for the garden both a good thing and a not so good thing.

But Mother Nature’s true hard workers in spring are weeds. They are everywhere and they march on continuously and insidiously. On March 5 the ground is bear; by March 10 there are weeds up everywhere; by March 30 they have risen to 3 inches; in another month they will be a foot tall if I did not attack them, which I will. Just a fraction of an inch every day they rise, but it is every single day. They do not seem to care what the weather is and they have nothing else to distract them. They continue to grow.

So now March is gone and it is time to get serious about this. It is time to work the ground and plant the early crops: the peas and the broccoli and the cauliflower. It is time to plant the hanging baskets so that by mid-May they will look glorious.

Most of all it is time to attack the weeds with a vengeance so that the head start they have will be vanquished and their dreaded seed heads do not have time to mature and disperse. For April there are no more business trips or weddings or taxes to work on. It is time to give my full attention to the garden. That is, when I am not reading, writing blog entries, cleaning the house and napping.

The Spring Question Springs Eternal

spring_flowersFirst the good news: It is spring!

This time of year the question is always how early to plant what. I tried planting peas in February last year and they did not do well. So this year I will plant them in the next week and hope for better results.

Cole crops come next. The plan is to plant them in the next two weeks – cauliflower and broccoli. No, the threat of frost is not past, in fact we had 30F one night and 32F for two nights last week. However the cold crops usually tolerate a few nights in the low 30s just fine so I will be bold.

On March 11 I planted some seeds in the greenhouse. Some of them have come up, some have not. I wanted to start pole beans early and they are mostly up. The Nasturtium and Marigolds are being more temperamental.

I will be planting hanging planters in the green house soon to get them started – the aim this year is to have many more hanging flower baskets than in recent years.

I have not yet finished the master plan for the vegetable garden for this year. It needs to get done soon and I will report on that in due course.

All the spring bulbs are up in their glorious color and have been for some time. In fact some of the daffodils are dying back already. Tulips are the latest bloomers, some are out and some are getting ready.

The grass needs cutting and the wild onions are still taunting me. A bad cold kept me away from the shovel for a few days – but I am on the mend so they better count their days.

Enjoy spring – it is a wondrous time of year.