At the beginning of April my garden beds looked like this.
At the end of the month that same bed looked much better. Above is my overwintered spinach. The Winter Giant never got to be giant and has started putting out those arrow shaped leaves which means it is bolting already. The Space is doing much better.
Overwintered spinach is a very nice early harvest, but it is never as prolific or as tasty as the spring sown kind. I have three 4'x 8' beds that were sown April 6th and April 11th. The date depend upon when the beds thawed enough. All of them had some frozen soil in them when they were sown, but not much. I do have some damping off problems in the beds. So far it isn't a big issue, but it is almost always a problem here in early spring. With so many beds I ought to still get a good harvest.
Besides spinach, I get early spring harvests from my baby Asian greens (including bok choy, tatsoi, choy sum, and mizuna), lettuce, radishes, and sometimes turnips. This year I started some indoors and potted them up into larger pots and a window box because of how late the melt out was this year. I've harvested the first of those already. What you see above is the last planted set on April 14th. Baby Asian greens grow very quickly in the spring which is why I give them a whole bed. This is food for May.
The later maturing brassicas are all doing well this year. Last year I lost some, but so far all the transplanted broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, and kale are holding up. I've planted three kinds of early spring cabbage. I want to see which does best here. I don't do any long maturing types as this bed will go into carrots in the summer.
Of the non brassicas planted this spring all the onions (behind the overwintered garlic) seem to be growing well. I ordered starts instead of growing them myself this year to see if they do better. I also have some shallots that I grew myself. I've only grown shallots from bulbs before. After seeing others do so well last year with shallots from seed, I thought I'd give it a try. I've also got some peas, celery, celeriac, and parsley planted.
The herbs are mostly doing well. In the circle I've planted out some marjoram and winter savory. The garlic chives haven't come up yet. I can't remember if they are just late starters or not. I hope they are alive. My Mojoito mint is also a no show. The other two mints are up, but barely, so maybe it will still come. The mints are in pots to keep them contained. In other spots around the yard the tarragon is doing well as is the French thyme.
Buds have started to show on my trees and bushes. Above is the Dwarf Ginger Gold apple. Last year it only put out a few blooms, but this year it looks to be putting out too many. I'll have to thin. The Dwarf Honey Crisp tree which is just as old as the Ginger Gold might have its first good harvest this year. Maybe. It is only about 4'-5' tall in its fifth year. I know the tree in general isn't as vigorous as other apples. But it is supposed to be on a more vigorous root stock to make up for it. But still it seems pretty stunted for a dwarf tree.
My espaliered apples and pear in their third year are not blooming, which is probably good as they aren't really large enough to support fruit. The Red Haven peach has a million buds on it like normal. I always have to thin this one by getting rid of 80% of the fruit it sets. The new peach from last year is growing well, but as you might guess still small. As is last years planted weeping plum. This month I planted three new trees. A 2-in-1 plum (Redheart and Shiro), Ichi persimmon, and a Pink Lady apple.
And last but not least, the smaller fruit. The Invicta gooseberry is starting to flower like mad. The Hinnonmaki Reds are struggling as I'm trying to make them into standards and they don't want to be. I have three currents most are flowering well. The one that I'm trying to grow along the fence is struggling. They really don't like to be trained, but I'll persevere for a few years before giving up. The low bush blueberries by the road got slightly cracked by the heavy snow load this winter, but are mostly perking up. The highbush blueberries in the rock wall didn't fare as well. The plow pushes the snow from the road over it. I'm not sure if they will survive here or not. And last but not least are the strawberries. One precocious plant has put out the first flower. I'm sure the others will follow soon. The plants look vigorous this year, so maybe I'll get a good yield for the first time in years.
- Shoveled snow off the garden
- 6th seeded carrots Bed4E, spinach Bed7E
- 7th seeded radishes, turnips BedCW
- 7th transplanted lettuce BedCW, transplanted Asian greens2E
- 9th seeded indoors Mizuna, bok choy, tatsoi, Brussels sprouts, zinnias, basil
- 11th planted trees in wall garden - Pink Lady apple, Ichi-ki-kei-jiro persimmon, 2-in-1 plum Redheart and Shiro
- 11th seeded spinach Bed2W, Bed6W
- 12th seeded peas Bed8E
- 12th transplanted lettuce BedCW, Asian greens Bed2E
- 14th transplanted Asian greens Bed2E, celery, celeriac, parsley Bed7W
- 15th seeded indoors lettuce
- 15th transplanted cabbages, kale Bed1E, Michihili cabbage, kohlrabi Bed8E
- 15th seeded turnips Bed1E Bed8E
- 16th transplanted shallots, onions (Dixondale), Bed5W, Bed8W
- 16th transplanted Bluestone order for front perennial bed
- 17th transplanted broccoli Bed1W
- 17th seeded turnips Bed1W
- 18th transplanted bunching onions Bed6E
- 19th planted ramps, strawberries wall garden
- 23rd weeded and mulched garden paths
- 24rd weeded and mulched yard
- 24th transplanted rudbeckia and gaillardia to front perennial bed
- 26th planted Lee #8 saskatoon foundation planting
- 28th seeded radishes BedCW
- 29th turned over compost - or at least all that was unfrozen
- lots of hardening off of plants, watering, and weeding
April doesn't have a lot of harvests. I do usually get a touch of some things. So far I've picked lettuce, mizuna, bok choy, and spinach. All in all it was about a pound.
No preserving is done in April. But I did finish eating up most of my stores. I do have some herbs and frozen corn left. A few canned items. But not much else. April is definitely my hungry gap. Though in reality is my grocery store gap. My spending at the grocery store has gone way up as I buy all my vegetables there now. But considering that I live on a small city lot (9000 sqft, 830 sqm, split between two fairly large townhouses), I do pretty well most of the year. I shouldn't complain. But I really do miss my own produce. It is so much better than the store bought stuff most of the time.
May To Do
- Keep up succession sowings of lettuce
- Seed more peas for shoots
- Plant the first of the corn and squash
- Transplant basil, Brussels sprouts, and the last succession of baby Asian greens
- Freeze excess spinach for next winter
- Thin and put protection on my apples
- Thin peaches
- Protect the strawberries from the squirrels