April 19, we had 3 inches of snow. By the end of the day April 20, it had all melted and the temperatures have been working their way up since. I don’t know about you, but I love to see the progress in the spring gardens. I do a walk about every day to see what has begun to come up, or how much they have grown since the day before.
Hostas have grown 2″ in one day
Early spring color
In addition to the new arrivals there are the early shows of color. Here the crocuses are just about done, but the striped squill and Siberian squill are just getting started with their showy display. I love them because they naturalize. They create a colorful palette early, but then by the time the grass needs to be mowed they have retreated for their summer slumber. This makes them a great addition to the yard for spring interest. In our case I moved a few of the Siberian squill from our other house, but the striped squill must have been a hitchhiker on some other flower I brought home. It just appeared in the grass on the south side of the house a few years ago and has slowly been multiplying each year. Squill are in the lily family and grow from bulbs but spread by reseeding.
Siberian Squill Perfect of Naturalizing
Striped Squill in lawn
We have a ditch that runs along our driveway leading up to our house. A number of years ago I started to plant daffodils, a few every year. There is a local plant club sale that I usually pick up a bag of just dug bulbs with greens attached that are added to my mix. Then in the fall when the bulbs are on sale I usually try to pick up some more. My goal is to get a good variety of color, size and bloom time. This year while the plants are still visible, I will go out and mark some of the spots that are bare so that I can fill those in with the fall bulbs. I also want to move some of the squill and grape hyacinths from other areas to add to the daffodil ditch because they make such an amazing combination.
Daffodils with hyacinths
Daffodils naturalizing along driveway
After pouring over all of the garden catalogs all winter it’s finally time to take some action. Even though it is early for most of the garden plants there are a few things that don’t mind the cold weather and satisfy the gardeners need to play in the dirt. Before I add the photos of my vegetable garden I feel I must admit that I am a Master Gardener, but all that means it that I know the correct way to do things—not that I practice them. I am also a lazy gardener. Oh, the good intentions are there in the spring, but in the end, I am willing to share my space with a few weeds.
Garden, still wearing its winter cloak
Over the years the garden has evolved to raised beds, with a couple more planned for this summer. My back prefers the raised beds and keeping the grass out of the garden is a little easier. For a long time, I tried to weed between the beds or mulch, but finally decided I like the green there and it is so much easier to weed eat between them as needed. My beds are made of 2 layers of stacked concrete blocks. They were free for the hauling so the price was right. After 10 years of use, I need to go back in and restack in some areas that have shifted. The alternative is wood, but I would have had to purchase the wood and eventually it would rot, so I don’t think one over the other has a great benefit. Both require maintenance. I like to keep the bed area that is not planted covered in straw to prevent weeds from growing, it is not 100%, but it does reduce the work. Between plants like tomatoes and bean rows it also makes a good mulch to hold in moisture.
Early Garden Additions
I started a new bed for strawberries last fall. For years I have tried to impose my will on strawberries in a raised bed I had in my old garden area. I don’t know how many times I replanted that bed and never could get a good dense mat of plants. I don’t think it held the water very well and being raised I think that it froze too solid in the winter. I can’t confirm either reason, but I can say for sure that it was not working. I moved one layer of the bricks over to my current garden and filled it with compost. They are much closer to the ground so I am hopeful. I went to the garden store and purchased 25 June bearing Jewel strawberry plants, will keep you posted on their success.
Just planted strawberry plant. The crown of the plant it just above the soil.
I am not planting potatoes this year, but they certainly could be planted now. My mother says plant potatoes at Easter—but that is a little problematic since the Easter holiday varies by a month from year to year. I did plant lettuce, peas, and radishes. I just pulled the straw back in one corner of a raised bed for the lettuce and radishes. Those will be planted again in a couple weeks to keep a new supply going until it gets too hot. Peas are planted up against a piece of cattle panel that I have secured to a couple of t-posts. I will plant cucumbers on the other side when it warms. By the time that the cucumbers get a good start and are climbing up the panel it will be time to pull out the peas.
Straw pulled back from area where lettuce and radishes are planted
Peas planted next to cattle panel for support
In a few weeks it will be warm enough to plant the warm season plants/seeds, stay tuned. I would love to hear what others are planting and your garden setup!