Sunday, April 6, 2014

What’s happening in the early April garden

Sunday, April 6, 2014

It has been unusually cold through the end of February and March this year in our Zone 6 garden.  Things are not popping out of the ground like they were last year.

So, what is popping up?  Overwintered garlic, Elephant garlic, French sorrel, blood veined sorrel, kale, oregano, rosemary, dandelions, common chives, garlic chives, strawberries, onions, wild leeks, sage, dill, mint, and thyme.

In the mini greenhouse, lettuce, kale, celery, blood veined sorrel, dandelions, arugula, garden sorrel, Italian dandelion, and broccoli are growing strong; lettuce is sprouting from seed sown in early March.  I am hoping I’ll see some spinach soon.  The plants are growing well enough that we can pick leaves for salads now.

You can see in the background that the forsythias are beginning to flower.  This is the sign that it is time to use an organic weed and feed to treat pre-emergent weeds, and green up the yard!

We added compost, fertilized, and mulched the garden beds and pots.   The garden and pots have been planted with cool season veggies!  

Whole Foods had organic bedding veggies last week end.  Of course, I couldn’t resist!  I bought buttercrunch and romaine lettuces, Tuscan kale, redbor kale, sugar snap peas, mesculun greens, scattered sown lettuce mix.   The mesculun greens had Red Streaks mustard seedlings in the flat.  They are really pretty and I’ve wanted to grow them for a while.  It will be fun to see what else is in the mix as they mature.

I also planted the herbs cilantro and parsley.  I plant these every year.  The cilantro does not last long; as soon as it warms up, it bolts.  You have to succession plant these to keep them in the garden.  Place them in a cool spot that gets some morning sun, but is in the shade the rest of the day.  Parsley does great for the entire season.  

Friday, I bought some chard seedlings as well.  I will plant these sometime this week end.  They were a mix of colors.  Chard is beautiful in orange, red, yellow, burgundy, fuchsia and white stemmed varieties.  I am going to plant along the back of the garden bed one of each color in the little flat of seedlings.  

Small chard leaves are great in salads.  Large leaves are great steamed.  The stalks of the large leaves can be used like celery, but very pretty celery!  Chard is also a tender perennial.  The white stemmed is the most cold hardy.  I have had the red one come back for years.  Not sure if they survived this winter; will have to wait and see if they pop back up.  If they do, they will have new multi colored friends to hang out with.

I got out the seeds I keep in ziplock bags in the crisper and decided on planting beets, chervil (love to put this and lavendar in olive oil for my dry skin), sprouting broccoli, Parmex and Short ‘n Sweet carrots.

I like broccoli raab or sprouting broccoli because you get small broccoli heads throughout the entire growing season versus one large head at once.  The leaves are also edible and great to add to salads.  I planted some seeds I had saved from a couple of summers ago.  Two plants gave us all the broccoli and broccoli leaves we needed for our salads.  They grow to be large plants.  If planting in a container, thin to one plant in a large pot.

Now is also the time to plant spring garlic.  Fall is the best time, but you can get scapes and small cloves by planting in spring.  I also have garlic resprouting from the first crop I planted.  When you dig the garlic in the fall, there are tiny cloves that usually get left behind.  These will come back in the spring.  The tiny cloves may take 2 seasons to get up to full size cloves.  

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