We got our first real spring rain today and what a difference it makes. It seems to make everything more green instantly, and walking around the yard and the gardens had to be done in muck boots. I am having a hard time believing it is only the first week of April and already so much is starting to really take off. The show piece of the garden so far is the garlic. This year we have close to 300 heads of garlic planted composed of Chesnock Red, Kilarney Red, Mitachi, Georgian Crystal, Georgian Fire, Webber Creek, and Siberian. All of these varieties are hard necks and some of them are already more than three inches tall. I always make sure to highly enrich the garlic bed, and last year it received home-made compost, horse manure, and close to eight inches of leaves as a winter mulch. So far so good!
Other high lights from the garden includes walking onions, chives, hops, and rhubarb. The perennials are always the first to get going, but this year is the best I have ever seen. Other edibles coming along are dandelion greens, sunchokes and nettles. One disappointment so far is the DIY cold frames. I do not think the design is flawed, but the salad mix, spinach and radishes are growing very slowly. I was hoping to have already had a salad from the cold frames, but there is still at least another week to wait. We planted Windsor fava beans last week, and today we planted Amish Winter snap peas and Giant Melting Mammoth snap peas under trellis tee-pees. Interplanted with the peas is Yugoslavian Red lettuce. Tomorrow we will be starting more tomato, okra, and cucumber seeds in the greenhouse. We have already got good healthy looking peppers started, and after being slightly shocked, the collard greens and brussel sprouts are almost ready to be put in the ground. I’m sure I am missing a few seeds and transplants here, but you get the idea. Now that our kids are getting a little older, I find it easier to do more of these projects, and sometimes I can even get some help.
The last project of the day involved the apple trees. We started out with a very light pruning of a few of the trees. After last winters damage caused by the neighborhood rabbits, I cleaned up select branches and made clean cuts. I thinned out a few budding sights on the Rubinette and HaralRed and also removed two major forked branches on the HaralRed. Lastly, we are starting to train the Rubinette. It has very bad posture, so using twine tied to the chain link fence close to the tree, we hope to straighten out the lateral branches, and have the lead branch go straight up, rather than at an angle. If this is done properly, by the end of the season the apple tree should hold it’s new form. This is something I should have done last year, but I never got around to it. Well, so far the spring has been great, and I feel like we have a good jump on some of the early projects that need to be done. The rain barrels are getting filled, the grass is getting green, and I am hungry for a home grown salad. Cheers!