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Our salad garden is thriving. While I have several lettuce and spinach transplants that I put out in early March, the random lettuce seeds that I tossed out there in January have germinated and we have a little patch of densely growing salad greens that my son likes to go out and nibble on. Whenever he comes into the yard, he goes over and helps himself to a snack! We don’t do anything special to these plants with the colder temps. In fact, lettuces and spinach can tolerate the cold really well, and even a coating of snow.
The peas that we planted just before St Patrick’s Day are now coming up. It appears that birds or other critters ate a portion of the seed before it had a chance to grow, so I planted some new peas yesterday to fill in the gaps. With the warmer weather that is anticipated in the coming days, these should germinate quickly and catch up to our other pean plants. We have less than a month to go until they start producing and are ready for the first harvest.
Carrots, beats, leeks, onions, garlic, radishes, scallions, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are also all in the ground right now, and were planted in March. So far, everything is coming along really well and I look forward to watching these plants take off in the warmer weather.
Our fruit trees are also starting to blossom. The peach tree is always the first to bloom on our property, and its bright pink blossoms are always a sign that spring has sprung! I have seen numerous bees out an about the tree, so I am really hoping for a good harvest this year. The tree was planted in March 2013 and started out as a bare root tree. I’m hoping year 3 brings us our first peaches.
The pear trees have been full of buds lately, and yesterday I noticed that some have finally opened. The bees are out there too, so we will have pears this year. Last year we got 7 pears from the 2 trees. I would love to get more than that this year so that maybe I can can a few pints to have over the winter.
We are now up to 17 blueberry bushes across our front fence. We decided that raspberries are too invasive, and they needed to go. We removed the raspberry canes from the front corner of the yard, and transplanted 3 blueberry bushes there. We then added 3 blueberry bushes down the fence line going in the other direction. These are the blueberry bushes that my in laws had attempted to grow on their property, but all they ever got were fat & happy chipmunks munching away. Hopefully with seventeen blueberry bushes we will start to get enough berries to enjoy as jam or in a batch of muffins, instead of just eating them as they grow.
Goals for April in the Garden
- Finish clearing out the former raspberry patch in the backyard. Move that garden frame to a new location and fill it with fresh growing medium for this season.
- Assemble the green house in the backyard, and begin keeping my seedlings that I am working with in there instead of in the basement.
- Assemble the smaller green house that fits over our raised bed, and transplant the corn to that bed this week.
- Build 2 additional garden beds, and get them completely set up for this growing season.
- Plant out the grapes.
- Plant out the fruit trees.
- Transplant the seedlings into larger pots so the roots get better established prior to planting in the ground.
- Start my remaining seeds.
- Mulch the garden beds
- Turn the compost pile, and build a frame for the compost pile
- Convince my husband that we should get chickens (this is a work in progress)
- Continue visiting garden centers regularly for deals on soaker hoses, bird netting, organic fertilizers, tools, as well as inspiration
- Make adjustments to the Garden Plan as needed – I highly recommend the Vegetable Garden Planner by Mother Earth News
- Start our pollinator garden
Sow Outdoors or Plant Out
Its that time! You can now plant directly outdoors. The list below is what to plant from seed, but cold hearty vegetables (like salad greens, root veggies, and brassicas) can be transplanted now. Other veggies can be transplanted in the coming weeks and in the ground by the end of April.
By the end of April, you can also direct plant your tomatoes and summer squash. In our area the final frost date is on or about April 26, so I try not to plant out my tomatoes, summer squash, and peppers until then unless I have a way to cover them over night.
At this point in the season, there isn’t much to start indoors. Most of it should have been started back in February and March. That said, if you want to have succession planting in the beds where you currently have lettuce and peas, you can start any of your summer veggies inside. In addition, the following can be started indoors now to plant out in late May and through out June.
- winter squash
- all other melons
Now that gardening season is in full swing, and there is a lot more to do, you will see me sharing those items on Happily Homegrown as well as on Facebook and Instagram. I invite you to follow along and share your garden’s progress with us as well! Use #happilyhomegrown when you post so we can all share in your garden’s success.