Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quick trip to the garden

It's the limbo time of year (well, it's the first limbo, there's another one around the end of May). Limbo happens when plants first get going, either as seeds or as transplants. They seem to just sit there for awhile, resting, taking a break after sprouting or getting transplanted, and building up the gumption to get growing again. (Once they do get started, they blast off like crazy and you wonder where all the time went, but right now things are sloooooooooooow -- hienz ketchup anticipation syndrome [H.K.A.S. for short].)

ANYWAY, today I was planning to post this Persian Rice recipe (but it was a dud), or the Dutch Baby recipe (it was awesome! I'll post it tomorrow). Instead, here's my garden on April 10th -- in a little bit of limbo (the freaking cold doesn't help, that's fo' shure! Although I can't complain, usually there is still snow on the ground).

The garlic that I shoved in the ground back in October is plugging away. I really get a kick out of planting stuff that I bought to eat. I heard this story once about some lady who ate the same carrot for like 10 years or something. The leaf end of a carrot will re-sprout if you plant it, so she kept saving this end everytime she ate it, grew the bottom again, and then repeated (like shampooing -- lather, rinse, repeat). This sounds like a National Enquirer story to me, but I offer it here in the interest of keeping the myth alive (carrots are supposed to run to seed and then croak in their second year of growth, so skipping that natural impetus for several seasons seems a little dodgy to me, but... you never know...).

The Raibow Swiss Chard is also up. Chard (and the related beet) seeds are actually berries, which means they are a dried fruit with a couple (in this case, usually 4) seeds inside. So, when chard or beets sprout, you often get a couple in the same spot. I'll thin these out later once they are a little stronger.

Speaking of thinning, it was time to thin the radishes. Here's what a row looks like before...

...and after. To thin the row, you just chug along and pull out seedlings until the ones remaining are about an inch apart. This gives them room to grow properly. You could just try and plant at this spacing, but you never know how many will come up so it's good to plant thickly and then thin later. Try and leave the strongest seedlings in the ground to help them along.

The lovage is getting ready to go BOOM!!

The horseradish is plugging away too.

And the Egyptian Onions have made their first step toward world domination. See how it marched from that central clump to the edge of the garden? Next stop, Kansas! These onions were 'borrowed' from some historic site in Nova Scotia back in 1998 (the clump has changed positions now and then, but I think it's cool that this is their 12th year in Ontario). I should assign someone to keep them in check if I keel over -- Lord knows what will happen if no one is watching them.

And finally my fig. Figs, actually. They came through a cool and boring winter in the cold room in the basement. Here is the first hand waving "Hi!". I am pretty sure I will never get to eat a fig from these trees (the squirrels pick them, take a bite, and then chuck them months before they are ready) but one can always hope.

Happy gardening!!

(p.s. no pictures rhubarb. It looks too normal now.)


  1. By the looks of things, you use a cold frame for your veggies. What do you use as a bottom layer?
    I've been thinking about putting one into a space at the side of the house that I recently ridded of some crazy hedges. I figgered a 10" frame. Rough up the existing soil a bit. Put down a couple inches of drainage stone. And then fill the rest with a good mix of soil/sand and compost. What think you?

  2. No cold frames! I just pushed it and planted some of the tough stuff as soon as the snow was off and I could scratch the surface. I would like a frame at some point, but I'm pretty lazy, and modulating them with the wacky freezing morning/boiling lunchtime we can get in early spring would be hassle city. When I built my raised beds, I just plunked them on the existing ground (which was rock like). The crap underneath should eventually break up with all the moisture above it, so if you do build something up, I'd skip the drainage layer and go from there. Awesome project! Make sure you have lotsa beer on hand, since gardening is pretty hard work. (I didn't use sand, just a couple of yards of 50/50 manure/topsoil mix from Petersons or something.)

  3. Oh, I should mention that I have a bunch of old curtains, blankets, and towels that I throw over the garden when it inevitably sails below zero after I've planted everything!