Spring Things

I was so busy with the garden during the beautiful March weather we had that I didn’t have any time to write about it. Now, the daily Portland rains have set in, so I’ve been working less outside. My vegetable garden and orchard already seem to be off to a good start, though.

The Early French Breakfast radish seeds from Nichols Garden Nursery that I planted outdoors in January are now almost fully grown specimens. I’m thinking of having them with the greens of some of the dandelions that have been springing up around the yard….

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February did result in some failed starts, as the weather just didn’t co-operate with my plans for transplanting seedlings out that were started in January. But no biggie! There will be plenty more to plant this year.

The seeds I sowed outdoors at the beginning of March are already going strong. We’ve got plenty of mustard, kale, onion, fava, spinach, arugula and pea seedlings coming up, as well as more radishes. I just transplanted some cabbage, cauliflower, and bok choy that I started indoors during February, too. Our potato patch is planted, and I’ve started an asparagus bed with crowns, which I’m hoping will work out, though I’ve never grown asparagus in the past.

The rhubarb that the previous owners of the property were growing in the orchard I transplanted to a bed beside the house, and we should soon have some lovely sour stalks from it. Everything else is leafing out nicely now, or already blooming, even my winter favas that took a beating from so much snow and frost in February. A winter kale is also flowering, as I look forward to saving its seeds.

All of the hard work I did last year — building beds, mulching, shoveling compost — seems to be paying off. Pests are not yet presenting a great problem. A few nibbles on the radish and cole crop seedlings from slugs that have gotten past the copper tape barriers on my beds is the only interference so far. I’ve sprayed the fruit trees with neem oil to discourage early insect infestations, hung a jug of diluted cider vinegar in the apple tree to trap ants, and wrapped cardboard around the bottoms of the tree trunks to catch codling moths.

For now, there’s still sheet mulching to be done, weeds to pluck, and more seeds to plant — but most of the foundations of my garden are complete, and we’ll soon be reaping the benefits!

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