|Posted on April 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM|
It is almost mid-April and everywhere I look there is a surge of new growth occurring. The cucumber and corn seeds I started indoors late last Saturday are already emerged, and a few of the pumpkin and a single winter squash has emerged as well. I am pleased with the good germination so far, and hope the summer squash and the rest of the winter squash join the group soon too. The real growing action is happening outside though. We have had a few days of sunny and warmer weather interspersed with cooler days with rain. The net effect for the outdoor garden beds has been a real acceleration of growth. For instance, the chives have had a harvest haircut at least twice now this spring, and yet tonight they are growing lush and tall and are even setting a few chive blossoms, which the bees will appreciate.
Speaking of bees…. my husband was fortunate enough to be outside in the vicinity of our mason bee house which has five tubes of dormant bees sitting on top, during one of the warmer days we recently experienced. It was fortunate because he was there to watch several of the bees emerge from their tubes. It was pretty exciting for him to be there at just the right time to see them launch forth. Now we can only hope that they will make our garden their home and use the nest box to start a future generation.
While the garlic and the rhubarb have been up for quite some time now, the level of growth that has occurred in this past week or so has been truly amazing. The two clumps of rhubarb will soon be ready for us to begin harvesting.
The garlic has also really put on a lot of growth.
There is lots of other growth happening in the garden as well. The carrots, peas, radishes, and turnips are all up and growing. The tatsoi, lettuce, and spring planted kale are producing light harvests. There will soon be spinach and spring planted kale and swiss chard to enjoy too - they just need a little more time to fill out. The broccoli and cabbages are healthy and growing but have a way to go before they will produce their first harvests. The onions are getting fuller top growth; particularly the extra early started Ailsa Craig onions that I planted in containers on the deck. However, the real indications of the significance of the recent growth spurt can be found in a few particularly precocious plants.
I was doing a morning walk in the garden today before work and was very pleased to find a young artichoke bud forming deep in the center of one of the three plants.
That was indeed a happy surprise, but even more interesting was what I found in the greenhouse. There are tomatoes and pepper starts living there gradually being hardened off. The peppers have been blooming lately and apparently the Early Jalapeños take the “Early” part of their name quite seriously because I found a pepper fruit already formed!
I suspicion there will be more of them right behind this because these are blooming rather profusely. Of the pepper plants I am keeping for myself, most will be planted in containers in the greenhouse ultimately so they won’t have much adjusting to do once permanently planted up. Also in the greenhouse are the tomato starts. The ultra-early started tomato plants are quite large now and will soon be planted out with protective covers. A new variety (to me) that I am growing this year is Silvery Fir Tree. Silvery Fir Tree is a rather compact growing tomato with lacey foliage and a reputation of being an early producer. So far, I have been quite impressed with the robustness of this variety. I guess that should have prepared me to find that they are the first out of the chute (in April mind you!) to form fruit!
My initial admiration for this tomato variety keeps growing. The real test of course will be its actual production level of ripe fruit and their taste. So far though, it has good marks for hardiness and early production and the fact that its lacey leaves are pretty to look at - works to its favor as well. All in all, it appears I have some particularly precocious plants in the garden at the moment.