April 9, 2022

Spring Planting & Growing: Early Edition

"All spring, I try to plant something every day "
Carla Emery, Encyclopedia of Country Living

I love that quote by Carla Emery, but I confess I haven't faithfully applied it this year. We've had a lot of rain, so some days it's too muddy to work in the garden. I managed to get my cool weather crops in, and now look forward to our last potential frost date. That date falls in the middle of our spring planting months, and so divides my planting season into early and late.

Planted so far:
  • turnips
  • kale
  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • mangels
  • sprouted pantry potatoes
  • beets
  • lettuce
  • snow peas
  • salsify
  • pink dandelion
  • cultivated burdock
  • mizuna
  • bloody dock

Of the root crops, only the mangels and burdock have emerged so far. You'll see them with the other spring garden photos below.

I only had a few plants survive winter; the rest succumbed to the cold.

These collard plants are several years old. I don't get huge
leaves from them anymore, but the small ones are tasty too.

One of just a few fall planted kale plants that made it.

Fall planted garlic, multiplier onions, and volunteer potato
plant (the sprouted pantry potatoes haven't emerged yet.)

More garlic

The one that concerns me is our wheat. It's yellowing.

Our fall planted wheat. Yellow from ???

There are a number of things that can cause this: nitrogen deficiency, iron deficiency, sulfur deficiency, fertilizer burn, herbicide injury, moisture stress, plus disease or insect damage. Apparently it's common enough that there are scores of articles written about it and speculating as to its cause. 

We don't use fertilizer, herbicides, or pesticides, so those are out as causes. Nutrient deficiency perhaps. Dan side dressed the rows with compost to see if it helps. Moisture stress is a possibility. Not from too little rain, but because we've had so much. At any rate, it looks like we'll still get a harvest.

It's still going to seed.

Saving for next year's seed will be the priority. We can always adjust our diet to whatever's left over if we need to.

Next are the early spring planted veggies.

Snow peas. No flowers yet!

Lettuce and volunteer dandelion; both salad favorites.

Mangels. These make great livestock feed (both leaves and roots).

Mizuna and violets (of which the flowers are edible)

Now that the swale is in and working well, I'm hoping my hoop house will be more useful in summer. Its raised beds dry out quickly in summer, so that I tend to plant there as a last resort. What I've decided to use them for is perennials, where the raised bordered beds can keep them under control.

Cultivated burdock and volunteer chickweed.

The other thing I planted this spring was the garden swale berm.

Swale berm planted with herbs and edibles.

I made a seed mix of all my old herb, flower, greens, and root crop seeds plus clover. Then I covered it with compost. Because the berm is sloped, much of the seed has washed down a bit, but hopefully enough has stayed put to help anchor the soil. It will be fun to see what grows.

Seed mix sprouting on the swale berm.

Then there are the perennials.

My few asparagus plants were taken over by
blackberries and daffodils, so I liberated them.

I actually gave up on asparagus a long time ago, because the wiregrass kept choking it out. But I have four or five plants that have hung in there over the years. We only get a few stalks at a time and enjoy them greatly, so I think it's time to invest in more.

Strawberries are thriving. My competition for those is slugs, birds, and chipmunks.

Red raspberries are leafing out.

Horseradish. Young leaves are good in a steamed greens mix.

Pear tree, garlic, & comfrey; swale berm in the background.

Pear blossoms. Pears seem to be our most reliable tree fruit.

Cherry blossoms. If I can beat the birds to them, I might get some!

Our last expected frost date is right around the corner. Then we can get to work planting our warm weather favorites. Like every other gardener on the planet, I'm looking forward to that.

How about you? How does your garden grow?


Ed said...

Snow and sleet yesterday and steady cold rain for two weeks has kept us out of the garden thus far. I’m beginning to suspect a repeat of last year.

For the wheat, I would recommend getting a soil test done through your nearest state extension office. We have frequently done those so we know exactly what deficiencies are occurring and can remedy them before problems arise.

daisy g said...

You've got a lot growing already! Way ahead of me, for sure.

We are in the 30's this morning and will be tomorrow. Hopefully, it's our last blast of winter. Our last frost date is April 15th, and it looks like Ole Man Winter is enjoying it until the end!

Sending sunshine your way!

Leigh said...

Ed, it's been years since I had a soil analysis done. Probably wouldn't hurt. I also have a company that gives a detailed analysis of micro-nutrients and find that helpful. The compost seems to be helping, though.

Daisy, we're down in the 30s here too, with a light frost on the garden. After last year's late April frost, I'm not going to rush things too much!

Nina said...

I've purchased my seeds, which is a start. However since I'm moving my garden, even if I could plant peas and lettuce right now, I have to wait. We're still getting some snow and below freezing so I'm not too worried yet. I do have some garlic planted and some indigo plants started, so that's something. I'm looking forward to getting to play in the dirt again. I think most of my blueberry bushes made it through the weird winter, so that makes me very happy.

Leigh said...

Nina, amazingly, we had sleet yesterday! That's happy news about your blueberry bushes. Garlic and indigo too. So indigo must be a hardy plant(?) I've never grown it before, but you've got me intrigued.

Nancy In Boise said...

So green and pretty! It was 75 degrees here three days ago and woke up to a half an inch of snow and still coming down this morning. Little bit too early for April here in our area for planting. But we will starts some seeds soon inside

Leigh said...

Nancy, good for you for at least starting some seeds inside! I learned my lesson about April planting outside last year. But I know we're all anxious for planting season to begin.

Kat said...

If the wheat isn't blotchy (rust) then I'd sure think it was frost damage. The pattern doesn't hold closely to what I usually see for nutrient deficiency in wheat crops. Then again, things are a lot different where I live so take that with a grain of salt.

Leigh said...

Kat, it's definitely not rust. I wondered about frostbite, but I've grown winter wheat for the past ten years and never had problems with frost or freezing. In my research, a number of nutrient deficiencies were mentioned (as I listed in my post), but I'm thinking maybe too much water is the problem. We've had a lot of rain the past two months. Since the side dressing of compost, some of it seems to be recovering. So I'm hopeful for at least a seed crop.

wyomingheart said...

Great shots of your plants so far! We have the sugar snap peas in the ground, but that is it. We are still getting some rogue temps here due to the wind chill. This honestly has been the windiest 6 weeks we have seen on the ridge. We actually had to tie the porch swing down to keep it from flying into the house! Great to keep those planting dreams going! Have a perfect week!

Retired Knitter said...

Wow, you have been busy! Lots to see.

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, I'm holding off on planting anything more!

Dan said the same thing about wind the other day. That this seems to be the windiest spring he can remember.

RT, it's because the temperatures have been so beautiful! All 70s so far this month, with only one day in the 50s (because of rain) and one day hitting 80. It's too glorious to stay inside (unless it's pouring!)