April Fools Day! Nothing foolish going on here at the potager however, just waiting for the weather to warm. At least there is bright sunshine and temperatures above freezing so the snow is beginning to slide off the Lady Cottage roof and melt from the trees. One of these days it will suddenly be SPRING, and I’ll be happy that I stuck to the normal scheduled 9th seeding. The earliest seedings focused on perennials, next on the cold-hardy slowest-growing annual flowers, then all attention on the veg crops, and now with this 9th seeding it’s back to the flowers: annual dwarf zinnias that go into the border fronts as soon as the weather settles on warmth and the spring bulbs are finished, a variety of nasturtiums, the thunbergia seeds finally purchased, and decorative purple basil.
After the small “Hot Pak Orange” marigolds used to edge the potager’s borders were transplanted and counted, the number was short, so more were seeded today. They will go along the two central paths, which begin with mini tulips, violas and sweet alyssum. When the tulips are finished and it gets too hot for the violas, the marigolds replace them.
The first seeds of Minnesota Midget melons were planted in pots, recognizing that it’s early and that they will need protection and special care. They’ll go into the greenhouse soon, which gets nicely warmed on sunny days and up-potted as required. The plan is to put the poly-tunnel that has been over the spinach all winter over a bed to warm the soil, and then to grow the first two melon plants there in that extra warmed environment. They are a bush-type, so two plants will fit into a 3′ x 6′ bed nicely. It’s an experiment to see if there can be melons much earlier than usual. Minnesota Midgets are delicious, and ready in only 60 days after transplanting. Normally, they go into the ground the middle of May and are ready mid-July. I’m hoping for sometime in June! The ones in the photo were from mid-August last year, a late planting that will be repeated again.
April 1st is also the day that dahlias stored over the winter are potted up and moved to the greenhouse. There’s more than ever this year, with all those that were dug last autumn plus the big order placed during the winter doldrums. See “Dallying with Dahlias.”
Hopefully, the garden energy that has been focused on seed-starting and transplanting can soon be turned to outdoor work of direct seeding, mulching and edging the gardens and the important work of hardening off plants carefully. April can be quite fickle with a mixture of warm days plummeting to frosts, so the potager’s furniture that has been stored in the Lady Cottage must be moved back outdoors to make room for the folded frost-protective sheeting that has been in the basement all winter. Hopefully, it won’t be needed, but experience shows it will. That’s it for seeding until mid-month, which is a long list!