Where did April vanish in a flash? What a month of contrasts and confusion. Sunny summer-like days came on the heels of blustery, snow-covered winter blasts, and then vice versa! The daffodils put on quite a show, and began tapering off just as the tulips burst into full color. The main tulips struggled with heavy snow, whipping winds, and even hail pellets, so some didn’t last as long as usual, but they were still worth every penny. The gooseberries, black currants and strawberries bloomed profusely, but we’ll have to wait and see if the blooms were harmed by freezing temps despite being covered.
April is always a busy month of seeding, both indoors and out. Indoors the seeding began with variety #119 (Cosmos Sunny Orange) and ended with #161 Squash Sweet Reba, so that’s 42 varieties sown and happily growing in the basement. Most of the earlier sowings have now been moved to the greenhouse, and those that were in the greenhouse moved to the hardening off benches outdoors, or planted into the ground. Of course, there was a bit of scurry and panic, as twice the temperature fell into the 20’s C, and things had to be covered, shoved back into the greenhouse, and even some brought back into the basement or stuffed into the Lady Cottage overnight! I grumble about the trouble storing all the various frost covers 360 days a year, but for those 5 nights or so when they are needed, I have to admit they are worth the trouble.
Outdoors, things progressed, albeit a bit more slowly than in some years. The month began with variety # 9 Kohlrabi Winner going into the potager, along with twenty-two other crops ending with #31 Cabbage Quik Start. Some crops were direct seeded (peas, lettuce, kohlrabi, carrots, beets) but most were transplants that began life in the basement (fava beans, sweet peas, baby napa cabbage, calendula, dwarf snapdragrons, cabbage, broccoli, celery, cauliflowers, and Italian Red scallions.) Normally, the first crop of beans, Royal Burgundy would have been planted toward the end of the month, but the forecast made me hesitate. There’s not a lot to be gained planting beans in poor weather.
A lot of time was spent potting up plants for our little garden club’s plant sale coming in May. So far, there are over 350 pots ready and waiting in the potager, plus I spent a lovely afternoon helping a fellow club member dig and pot 50 of hers. In addition, a replacement raised bed was built, delivered, and installed at my mother’s garden, all of my gardens were weeded, the deadheading was kept up, and 150 narcissus were picked to be used for centerpieces for the “Most improved students” award banquet in our little town. The garlic and roses all got a feeding and a mulch of composted cow manure, and the Lavender Slope got it’s first weeding of the year.
The harvest increased this month, with lots more herbs (cilantro, chives, parsley, garlic chives, oregano, lovage, cutting celery, sage, mints, savory and thymes from the potager, as well as bay, lemon verbena and basil in pots) all available now. We’re still feasting on crops sown last autumn and wintered over: carrots, leeks, kale, spinach, and now some volunteer purple mustard that is large enough to use, and greens foraged from the borders. The big celebration for the first handful of asparagus was held on April 29th, lightly steamed and added to shrimp and pasta.
The total harvest for April, 2021 was 11.25 lbs. up from 6.5 last year.
May’s calendar is fuller than April’s, so I expect it to pass even more quickly, but I’m trying to absorb every sunny moment and make the most of each and every day. I hope your month was filled with blessings…and lots of flowers!