Early May Lack-of-Garden Report

This has probably been the most closely awaited vegetable gardening season in decades, but alas, so far it is a bit of a bust. We, for instance, have been waiting for the dandelions to bloom in order to plant our potatoes, which as can be seen, are raring to go. No sooner did the first few dandelions bloom however, than it snowed. So, still waiting. 

We started seeds indoors at the usual time. Whenever it is mild and sunny enough we put them out on the driveway, covered in plastic as it is still generally too chilly for them to be completely exposed. The last few days have been so cold that they have not even made it that far.

Outside, the only thing that seems to be on schedule are some of the fruit trees. The haskaps are leafing out and their flower buds will soon be open; ripe fruit can be expected in a little more than a month. 

I believe our total successful harvest of apricots thus far has been one. One apricot. This year does not look like the number will go up by much. No sooner than the first flush of blossoms opened, than it snowed. They don’t look too bad from a distance but close up they look soggy and forlorn, and I don’t believe any insects have been visiting them. 

We got the early peas planted in good time, when it looked like spring might be early or at least on time. We covered them up with plastic, just in case. Good thing. It has really helped them. Garlic on the other hand originated in the steppes of Siberia, and is moving placidly along on schedule, in the open. Nothing else had been planted out yet.

Here are some of the peas, snug in their bed. 

There are a number of overwintered plants that will grow between the tomatoes, once they are planted out, in order to go to seed. Onions in the foreground, some cabbages, carrots under the wire mesh (squirrels will eat off the tops if they are left available), and leeks in the farther bed. Herb celery is coming up at the right hand of the further (middle) bed, and will supply salad greens for a while, then they will be pulled when the tomatoes go in, as they would bolt soon after that and we don’t need the seed.

The neat clumps of leaves are échalotes de Ste. Anne, which I got last summer from Terre Promise. I am looking forward to seeing how they do. Looking very good so far! The scragglier ones are from a seed grown shallot that does not really form much in the way of a bulb, but divides readily and produces good early spring greens – although it doesn’t look like it can compete with the Ste Anne.

We planted some hulless barley when we planted the peas. Only one variety seems to be doing well; Dango Mugi seen above. It obviously has a long way to go yet, although it will supposedly be ready in three months. We’ll see!

Back inside, the shoots on the sweet potatoes are big enough to pinch off and root. We are a little reluctant to do so, as we don’t want the roots to get too big before they can be planted out. That leads to lots of sweet potatoes, but little twisted ones. Still, we will have to do it soon.

The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and a few other things are doing very well and can get planted out any time; any time the weather permits, that is, so I think they will just have to hold their horses for another week or two. There have been a few slip-ups along the way. In the case of the tomatoes, they were literal slip-ups, that ended with a heap of dirt, pots and tomato plants on the driveway. They all got scooped back up, watered well, and mostly carried on although we are no longer certain that the labels on the pots accurately describe the plants within. All of them got slightly scorched on a sunny day, although they all subsequently just kept on growing. I will be greatly relieved when their baby-hood is over, and they are all planted in the garden in real dirt. We’re just waiting on the weather now.

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