Garden Update – Early April 2012
I feel like I’m in some sort of crazy time warp. Just yesterday (I pinkie-swear!), I was dreading the turn of the yearly calendar and staring down cruel, snowy January and February. But here it is, April already, and it’s warm and sunny in the Midwest.
In stark contrast to last year (which was problematic on a number of fronts), all of my planting efforts are taking off like a shot, indoors and out. For my fellow gardening fiends (and, of course, armchair gardening aficionados alike), here’s a quick update.
One of the reasons I like growing everything possible from seed is that I have a huge skylight in the finished attic of my house. Once my seedlings outgrow the grow lights (which happens at about 6″ tall, when raising the lights to accommodate the plant’s height means less light for the both the lower branches and slower-growing plants), I move them out to a custom-built platform under my South-facing skylight (the photo above was taken about 5:30pm — the skylight gives full sun to the platform from about 9am to 4pm). Here, they’ll not only get the proper light they need, but it’s true, full-on sunshine, which helps the young plants get used to the sun’s bright rays right from start (they won’t burn and wilt later).
The platform is 4′ x 3′, and holds everything I start indoors until the weather is right to begin moving them outdoors. This weekend I moved the first of the tomato transplants — now 8″ tall — to their sunny, new platform home for the next three weeks (I plan on getting the tomatoes in the ground before the end of April).
The blueberry bushes are blooming. I love when they bloom because it reveals the blueberry yield for the year — all blooms appear at once, and each bloom represents one blueberry (this year = medium-sized crop; not bad for such an early bloom).
Kitties love the open windows, and they especially love meowing at (read, mocking … I’m certain of it) the doofus in the backyard in the fashion-questionable sun hat and rubber Wellies.
Remember the bed of dirt from just a couple weeks ago? Radishes and sugar snap peas are happily up and about. First radish should be harvestable in about two weeks; first sugar snap pea pod, three, maybe four, weeks. (Sorry ’bout the blur. Drives me crazy when photos look sharp in the camera’s monitor, so you take just the one….)
In the allium garden, the onions (short green wisps in the foreground) have taken hold and are sending up new green shoots. The garlic (behind the onions) and shallots (on the right) are chugging along happily, both headed for early-ish harvests (probably mid-June vs. early July).
Speaking of shallots … shallots usually form clusters of 3 to 5 heads. Here’s a close-up of one plant: three heads have formed from a single bulb I planted back in November. The stalks are thick and strong — this should be an excellent shallot harvest.
Here’s to lots of wonderful produce in 2012!
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” — Margaret Atwood