Monday, April 11, 2011

April Already?

Well, let's see. Rainstorms? Check. Heat wave? Check. Bee swarm calls (none of which I've gotten as I'm waiting to refurb the chicken run before having resident bees again)? Check. Frisbee season heated up? Check!

Okay, then, it is April.

And downstairs, there are flats of kale I pricked out from their first flats, in order to give them a little more room to grow before getting transplanted. Lacinato:

Red Russian:

Various lettuce mixes -- not yet thinned. They might just not get much coddling, since they should have been 6" high and out in the garden a month ago, you know? I'm just feeling cranky.

Out in the garden, the nursery-bought basil has been chomped on by wee caterpillars, I assume by the damage. Too bad for it. It was hot, now it's cool, the basil is completely bummed anyhow. No easy pesto for me, apparently. And basil-from-seed remains for some reason a pipe dream. When I lived in warmer areas yes, but not here, land of sea breezes.

Pretend that your head is tilted. These are afilia-type peas (thank you, Mr. H for the recommendation). They are relatively happy, but alas, so are the grassy weeds in the bed. That's what happens when one year you plant sweet peas thick, so thick that you can't weed, and therefore the weeds are happy, so happy that they all set seed. Thus the gardener gets to weed well into the future.

The storebought bell peppers (orange and red only) are cheerfully peppering on. I don't know ow many of the old peppers are really going to resprout, but I haven't started any more Padrones, in anticipation of having the old ones bounce back. Perhaps I'm not being smart, but who knows yet?

Tristar strawberries are finally becoming happy in their recently-tilled clover bed:

But it's nothing like the Seascape strawberries, which are throwing a party (again, with the head tilt):

Looking down on a Roma tomato. Instead of the fence system, this year I am trying two stakes each, and pruning suckers out:

This is what the tomato sees:

Mikey romped through the asparagus, and now it has a "fence." I use the word loosely because it's really just a dog-discourager:

The hoops kept the birds away from the transplanted lettuce -- and really, that's nowhere near enough spinach. Argh.

All is not well out in GardenLand, alas. A chicken is eating eggs. Must figure out how to stop that bird. Drat it all.

One experiment which seems to be working okay is the sump pump irrigation system. If I only water a portion of the garden at a time, it moves enough water from the rain totes to keep the garden alive. It's not perfect, and it takes a startling amount of water. One tote is dry already, and unless it rains soon, the others will soon follow. We're back to draining bath tubs.

So in general, enough to keep me moving forward, garden-wise, and there's still lots of room out there.


Vegetable Garden Cook said...

I grew a lot of white Russian kale late last summer, and it has been a rock in my vegetable garden this year. The Lacinato kale froze out.

I am starting many kales this spring, rather than summer as I did last year. This may be a dumb question, but I'm fairly new to kale: if you set them out early in the spring will they survive well into the winter as if you'd started them in late summer, or do you think they may bolt? What do your plants do?

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I just love the red Russian kale, always a star in the garden! We're so far behind after our drenching in March. I'm jealous you have your tomatoes and peppers out. We were still freezing overnight here this last weekend, but I'm hoping our starts can go out soon. I agree about Seascape, ours seem unstoppable at the moment, and seem to be amusing the bees with their blooms. I can't wait for berries though!

Mr. H. said...

Your seedlings are looking good. I am chomping at the bit to get mine planted out as well...supposed to see the sun today, we shall see. Glad you gave the afilia peas a shot, hope they do well for you. You will get a kick out of their crazy tendrils. Dog ran through my just planted parsnip bed the other day...pets, gotta love them.:)

Chris said...

I'd not given much thought to what my veggies can see. Maybe I should.

Mr. H. said...

So I read this post on slug prevention on another blog yesterday and for the life of me I can't remember where...I was hoping to give you the link. Anyway, this person had tacked up a thin strip of waterproof sand paper to the boards around her raised bed and it was apparently extremely effective at keeping the slugs at bay...thought I would mention it just in case you get desperate.

Stefaneener said...

VGC, I have had kale bolt when it goes through a cold/heat/cold cycle, or when the weather heats up for fall planted stuff. It nearly grows year round here, but if it gets signals that a full season has passed, temperature-wise, it will bolt. I just try to plant in succession. It's so yummy!

CVS, we're starting to be very dry, at least at the garden level. I was worried about the tomatoes the other night, but it's okay so far.

Mr. H., we love the dogs, but they can be a handful, garden-wise.

The Cast, I like to think from different angles : )

kitsapFG said...

Your young plants are all looking good. I have to start basil indoors and wait forever to plant them outside as our temps are just too cool and they pout and turn black (honest!). Last year we had such a cool and wet summer that my basil all just gave up and died eventually. I am hoping for a better basil year in 2011.

I recently transplanted a bunch of strawberry starts I rooted out from runners last summer and have had growing crowded in big pots all winter. They seem to have all survived the move and are perking up this week - look to be about two or three days behind your nice looking plants in size and growth.

Stefaneener said...

kitsapFG, I keep the basil faith, but it's really touchy here. Just not hot enough.

Yesterday I actually pinched blooms off of many of the strawberry plants. The catalog said not to let them set fruit early, but to concentrate on growth. I could use big big plants.

Daphne Gould said...

My basil seedlings are little tiny things, just getting their first true leaves. Half the time I just end up buying them from the nursery when mine won't grow. Very few other things give me such issues.