Monday, 23 May 2016

May Showers

The thing about this month is that it has rained a lot.

The thing about lots of rain is that it makes it difficult to garden, take pictures, and make notes.

We did very well on the first one, all things considered. The last two are a little patchier, but here goes:

It has occurred to me that since I almost always post more than one day at once, all the blog's posts together end up out of sequence. So I'm going to start posting in reverse order from now on. My apologies if any confusion results.

Sunday May 22, 2016
9 volunteers

  • My weather app says 20 degrees but we're sure it's higher.
  • Need to plant carrots, second wave of peas
  • Sanded and stained seating area

  • Planted blueberries in square bed and added peat moss for increased acidity
  • Planted zucchini and cucumber from seed in the hugel mound
  • Most volunteers who had been raising seedlings on windowsills brought them in. NO ONE obeyed my orders to thin the tomatoes, but they seem healthy in spite of tight quarters.
  • Transplanted chives and mint
  • Reorganized shed (hurray!)
  • Red spots on pear leaves are fading. Maybe it's not a disease, but some kind of physical damage from the damp conditions? Just a few areas on fully open leaves are still damaged, and they are not particularly red now.
  • Golden zucchini (Burpee)
  • Fordhook zucchini (Burpee)
  • Straight Eight cucumber (Burpee)
Saturday May 21, 2016
  • Brought the seedlings out for their second day of hardening off under the row cover
  • The cantaloupes were looking particularly sad so I tore bits off of their compostable pots (to allow their roots easier escape) and tucked them inside larger pots of soil.
  • Soil had settled low in some of the tomato pots, so I added more to help prop up the floppy stalks. Tomatoes like that treatment.
  • The cabbage seedlings that grew so quickly in early April are suddenly withering away. Too long in pots? They are the only seedlings looking the worse for yesterday's day in the row tunnel. I pinched off the dried-up cotyledon leaves.
  • The sweet peas have sprouted
Friday May 20, 2016
It's finally 20 degrees and promises to stay that way. Time to start hardening off the seedlings at long last. They are languishing indoors.
  • Put seedlings in row-cover tunnel from 7:30 am to 5:45 pm. Many of them, especially the tomatoes, seemed to be a more vibrant green by the end of the day.
One of the kale that had overwintered and was under the first row-cover tunnel has bolted (already? With the cold spring we've been having?!?). I pinched off the flower stalk and ate it. The buds were a slightly mealy texture but the taste was delicious. Sweeter than broccoli. 

A concerning discovery on the year-old pear tree that just unfurled its leaves: red spots everywhere, and some crumpling. Does pear rust look like this when it first starts out? We know junipers can host pear rust and there are some on the property, but they seem healthy. Has the cold, damp spring made a good environment for disease?
A more encouraging observation on the new crabapple tree: flower buds! We can't let this tree fruit this year—it's too young—but we can enjoy the blossoms until they turn to baby fruit.
  • All 3 columbines blooming
  • The transplanted strawberries seem happy. They're so tough—other perennials would be droopy and sulking right now
  • The sage we hacked back is finally growing in again from the base
  • The whole neighbourhood's lilacs (and ours) are in full bloom. The smell is heavenly.
  • We need to plant carrots and squash this week.
Wednesday May 18, 2016
7 volunteers

  • Still fairly cold. Need to transplant the arugula anyway. Should start new seeds, too.
  • Year-old fruit trees in leaf. Buds are breaking on new ones.
  • Asparagus shot up in the rain. Can bury to ground level now.
  • Columbine in row cover tunnel is blooming.
  • Some raspberries budding. Are the others not yet because they are different varieties, or did only a portion of the batch survive?
  • Moved hoop to leave columbine exposed to pollinators
  •  Transplanted strawberries from raised bed—half to hugel mound, half to NE corner of sheet mulched bed. Mixed sand into soil in both new locations.
  • Pulled blooming garlic mustard from shrubby edge of property
  • Weeded 
  • Transplanted cosmos that self-seeded too thickly in the lettuce/beet/turnip bed
  •  Set up new hoop tunnel with row cover to serve as a nursery for hardening-off seedlings
 Transplanted strawberries

 New kale seedlings doing well

Rhubarb is growing well

Mystery plant. Is it a perennial we put here on purpose? Did it self-seed?
Wednesday May 11, 2016
It's still cold and drizzly. We gave the fruit trees extra water anyway since it hasn't been raining very hard.

One of the half-barrels was full of these seedlings. We had thought they were squash until the first true leaves came in wrinkled and fuzzy. We shrugged and pulled them out since they were in the way of the garlic. Then it occurred to me they might be borage that self-seeded from last year's plant. Wish I'd kept some.

Tuesday May 10, 2016
 The arugula loves the little greenhouse covers and has shot right up.

The lettuce in the lettuce/beet/turnip polyculture has sprouted

Wednesday May 4, 2016
3 volunteers. We planted:
  • Evergreen Bunching Onion (Urban Harvest)
  • Broccoli Raab Rapini (Urban Harvest)
  • Snow Wind Peas (Burpee)
  • Purple Vienna Kohlrabi (Urban Harvest)
  • Garden Sorrel (Urban Harvest)
  • Florence Fennel (Toronto Seed Library)

Sunday May 1, 2016
TreeMobile Day!

Of course it poured rain, but a handful of muddy volunteers braved the weather to plant our new crabapple, pear, currants, asparagus, comfrey, rhubarb, and fifty (fifty!!) raspberries.
Our own Liz with Virginie and a young volunteer from TreeMobile
What I learned: To plant asparagus crowns (which look like little squids), dig a trench 6 inches deep. Make little mounds inside the trench and spread each squid's tentacles (roots) over one. Ad soil just until the crown is covered. As the asparagus sends up its skinny, little first-year shoots, keep adding soil. This way there will be a good six inches of stalk buried underground once the soil is level with the rest of the garden.

Virginie teaches us about asparagus

Digging the hole for the new pear

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