As I post this, during the late end of June, I acknowledge that it’s beyond over due and probably no longer relevant. Despite the late date, I’m still posting an April Garden Notes because I believe it will be a good reference in the many years of gardening to come.
A harvest a day keeps the grocery store at bay
Now that the weather is warm, I’ve had quite a productive garden. It’s heavy in lettuce, leeks, chard, and strawberries. I’m also getting my first radishes, carrots and kale.
I’ve been spending a lot of time this spring making things out of Sycamore whips. Whips are the Sycamore trees' new growth that’s annually pruned in the late winter. The whips are thin, malleable, and have no side shoots or leaves. They’re perfect for weaving into wattle fences, trellis, or whatever else you can imagine. This month I’ve made two new trellises for peas and one for runner beans.
Harvest now or never
The warm spring weather has caused many of my overwintering crops to show their first signs of bolting. Leeks, carrots, and all my Swiss chard had to be harvested.
Bolting is when an annual or bi-annual plant begins its last phase of life, the reproductive phase. During bolting, plants will put all their energy into creating seeds. The plant will lengthen as it tries to send a seed head towards the sky. Leaves will become bitter and inedible. Alliums will develop thick-ridged centers, leaves will yellow, and often bulblets. Root crops will become woody and loose their tenderness.
Pests now and forever
The pest burden has remained surprisingly low in my spring garden. The most notable change has been the return of a wide variety of caterpillars: imported cabbage moth, cabbage loopers, fruit tree leafrollers, cutworms, and armyworms. I’ve simply hand removed the caterpillars and fed them to the appreciative chickens. Aphids remain manageable with a jet of water. I’ve also finally identified the devastating foe of my winter lettuce, the wireworm. Read my post Sudden Lettuce Death Caused by Wireworms to learn more about these crazy buggers.
A gardener is only as good as her friends
Besides potting up my squashes, I’ve been a neglectful grower. I haven’t sown any new seeds or starts. Luckily I did receive some beautiful tomato seedlings from my friend Jamie at Fog City Gardener and some tomato and squash starts from the Master Gardeners’ Spring Garden Market. Sigh, thank goodness for friends.