Garden Daybook 4/11/13

Finally!!! A day in the garden! Not in the basement tending to seedlings. Not at the dining room table transplanting seedlings. IN THE GARDEN!! With my hands in the soil! Weeding, cleaning up, loosening soil around the garlic and shallots. The garden is straightened up and almost dry enough to plant. So went Monday. Then . . .

herb grdn sprin rain

Wednesday attacked! The sky darkened over the woods to the west. I mean it got DARK. Greg was working with his dahlias in the hoop house and I was transplanting tomato seedlings at the dining room table. He came into the house and said “I think we need to get down to the basement!” He said he heard rumbling! Suddenly we could hear hail hitting the back windows of the house. Uh Oh! Hail shows up just before a tornado! Head for the basement! By the time we grabbed a flashlight and were headed to the stairs – mere seconds – the storm had blown over and it was raining softly. Whew! One fatality – an entire flat of Redwing onions I had sitting on the porch – the one I took to New Day Cleveland – the one I should have taken back to the hoop house but didn’t – was literally blown up into the air and splattered into a bed of dianthus. Oh Man!! We scraped up the seedlings and soil and Greg patiently replanted the entire flat. Look carefully at the picture above and you can see the mud and standing water in the herb garden. This is a set back because now the soil is too wet to work. Aaraugh!! On the other hand . . .


The rains have brought out the fabulous blue scillas in the front garden. I LOVE these tiny blue flowers. Scillas grow from fall planted bulbs, bloom for a short time in April, then die down and rest underground until next April. They spread by seed and, year by year make bigger and bigger patches of blue. Mine have completely covered parts of the paths in the front garden- look closely at the picture you can see that they have jumped the brick edging. I love that the paths are covered with flowers and we tred carefully until the scilla die back. I also love how the seeds spread and surprise us with bloom in unexpected places. I found this tiny patch of scilla under a viburnum in the backyard shade garden. Now how did they get there? . . . April Scilla

Most of the seedlings that have been growing in the basement have been moved to the hoop house. Onions, celery, leeks, a few flowers, and even a container of garlic are soaking in the warm sun and protection of the hoop house.

April hoop house seedlings

Having all these seedlings in the hoop house adds work to each day. The hoop house door must be slid open every morning before the sun heats the house up. Also the sheet plastic sides must be rolled up and tied to prevent overheating. If I get distracted with other morning chores and forget to open the door and roll the sides up, the temperature inside the house can quickly climb into the 100’s and cook all the seedlings. I also need to check the seedlings often during the day to be certain they do not get too dry. Because we do not have water in the hoop house we have a simple solution . . .

driveway hose protection

Our watering system is primitive but functional. We connect the hose to the outside spigot on the south side of our home and run it along the ground to the hoop house. Duh! This picture shows the wooden “tracks” Greg built to protect the hose where it crosses the driveway. We leave the hose in place until everything is out of the hoop house and planted into the garden. I dream of having a spigot in the hoop house so we don’t have to string the hose from our home to the hoop house. Every time Greg mows the lawn the hose has to be rolled up and then laid out again. What a pain!

I also dream of having water spigots in the vegetable garden because we have to string three hoses together to reach everything. This is an even bigger pain because dragging three hoses is hard work. Watering begins in the vegetable garden when we begin to use the cold frames in early spring . . .

April coldframe with seedlings

So far the cold frames hold the cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuces. I use the cold frames to harden off the seedlings. The seedlings start out with the cold frame closed, Day by day, over about a week, the top is raised until it is completely open and the seedlings are ready for the garden.

The days are already not long enough to get done what needs to be done. I just keep working my way down daily to-to lists.

You can see that the garden is bare and ready for planting. Here we go . . . !

spring view through circle grate

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin


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