Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gardening Floyd: Mid-April

The garden is beginning to look like a garden again!  We've had lots of rain, hail, and high winds, even some tornadoes which are unusual in the Blue Ridge Mountains but we've also had warmer temperatures.  The plastic is off three of our hoop houses (Mother Nature insisted in the form of wind), the earliest spring and cool weather crops are growing well, and the herbs are coming along nicely.

You may remember this peek inside a tunnel

Here's that tunnel now
Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower

Fava beans then...
Fava beans and their tiny orchid like flowers now.

The allium bed then...
 and the allium bed now.
front to back: leeks, shallots, garlic
 The peas then...
and now.

The late spring crops just planted then...
and the sprouting seedlings now.
lettuce, spinach, beets, yellow onions, rutabaga, parsnips, carrots
The herb garden currently...
...and the blossoms on our self-fertile patio peach.
I must plug the convenience of patio peaches.  We only have one now but are definitely going to get more.  Patio peaches grow to about 4' high and if you are limited to container growing (or even if you're not) they can be grown successfully in large pots, are self-fertile (meaning you don't have to have a second tree for pollination) and produce good peach crops for their size.  Ours is in a giant pot that sits on a wheeled saucer allowing us to roll it into the garage for protection when frost threatens and back out into the sunshine in the morning.  It wintered over beautifully in the garage with a very bare minimum of attention.  We grow Celeste and Brown Turkey figs the same way.

The baby apples are budding up as is the josta berry.  The blueberries, the che tree, and the seckel pear are all leafing.

Indoors, the Marconi peppers and eggplants have been transplanted out of their seedling bed into half gallon milk jugs.  The tomatoes are almost ready for transplant into larger containers.  The annual herbs are seeded and it's time to seed the cucumbers, summer and winter squashes, and pumpkins.

The chicks have grown a lot, have been separated into two tubs and are nearly completely feathered.  They did go through a nappy, gangly stage that they've nearly recovered from...

...and they love to perch on the edges of the tubs and on top of the feeders.  Sometimes it looks like they're playing mosh pit!
I love this time of year!  I love seeing the garden come back to life, the surrounding woods budding up and leafing out, the migratory water fowl that stop overnight on the pond on the way back to summer homes.  I get satisfaction seeing our dwindling reserves of preserved foods in the pantry, root cellar spaces, and freezers because it shows that we've had more than enough to make it through the winter and soon will be restocked with this year's bounty.  I look back on all the winter meals and treats I made with all the foods that we grew, foraged, hunted, and put up and feel secure and content.

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