Sunday, April 5, 2015

Garden Share Collective - April 2015

Circle garden with overwintered spinach in the foreground

We still have a bit of snow on the garden. It would be a lot worse but I was shoveling it from the beds to the paths. It melts quickly on the paths. And shoveling lowers the albedo of the garden so it gets warmer faster. My garden is a very urban garden. The neighboring houses and trees block the sun rather effectively during the winter. As the sun gets higher in the sky, more and more of the garden sees the sun. This means that the parts of the beds near to my house melt out much faster. I can stick a shovel into at at the nearest part. But the parts near the neighbor's fence are a big block of ice. They do see some early morning sun at this time of the year, but the warm afternoon sun is still blocked.

This makes for some interesting planting times here. Last year our last frost was April 18th. I couldn't plant the peas until April 4th, and I could only plant part of the bed as the rest was still frozen. The rest of the bed didn't melt out until April 10th or so. Peas really aren't my main issue though. They have time to produce no matter how late they are. But the spinach needs to get out of the bed it is planted in by June. It needs enough time to grow. This year I'm going to try to make three beds of spring planted spinach (plus I have one of overwintered). Two of these beds are closer to the fence so might take a while to melt out. I'm just hoping they will have time. Last year was pretty late too and they got in April 10th. There weren't a lot of pickings and my harvest tally was low.

One bed however is going to be by the path which is warmer and sunnier. Hopefully that will do well and the harvests will be faster. I'm planting cucumbers and zucchini after it so they need to be out by June, but late May would be better. I always worry during late years if my successions will work. But with four beds of spinach I'm probably going to be inundated and have to start giving it away.

Brassica starts

March Completed

  • Shoveled snow off the garden
  • Started sweet potato slips Purple
  • Starting to take slips off of Garnet to root
  • Start indoors flowers, Asian greens, chard, herbs, broccoli, and cabbage
  • Potted up some lettuce and baby Asian greens into window boxes for early greens
  • Hardening off green onions and shallots
  • Pruned fruit trees

I'm getting pretty low on my stores. Most of the vegetables that I'm eating are from the supermarket now, though there is usually something I grew too. I've decided to grow more greens this year as they were the first things to be used up. And I LOVE my frozen greens. The only thing I hate about frozen greens is washing the spinach. 5 pounds of spinach takes a long time to get clean if it is really dirty.

Tally of what is in storage from the garden last year:


  • Celery: 1 cup (5 cups)
  • Chinese cabbage: 4 servings, 3 soup packet (10 servings, 4 soup packets)
  • Corn: 9 cups (14 cups)
  • Zucchini: 2 cups (? cups)
  • Carrots: 8 cups (20 cups)
  • Burritos: 5 servings (11 servings)
  • Basil: frozen leaves
  • Cilantro: frozen leaves
  • Parsley: frozen leaves
  • Kale: 0 servings(43 servings)
  • Broccoli: 0 (19 servings)
  • Chard: 0 (17 serving)
  • Mizuna Soup: 0 servings (4 servings)
  • Spinach: 0 servings (24 servings)


  • Peach cobber filling: 4 half pints
  • Peach preserves: 3 half pints
  • Dill Relish: 5 jars


  • Carrots: 5 carrots left (25 pounds)
  • Parsnips: 0 (4 pounds)
  • Onions: 0 (11 braids about 45 pounds)
  • Garlic: 8 bulbs(3 pounds)
  • Waltham Butternut: 3 avg. 3lbs each (27)
  • Sweet Potatoes: 6.7 lbs (45 pounds)
Early greens window boxes

April is one of the busiest months in the year. A simple line on my todo list says "Clean up the garden". Four simple words. Hours and hours of work. Hopefully I'll get it all done.

April To Do

  • Finish shoveling the garden
  • Start indoors zinnias, basil, Brussels sprouts, more Asian greens, more lettuce
  • Seed peas, carrots, radish, turnips, spinach
  • Transplant brassicas, chard, onions, herbs, lettuce, etc
  • Pull the plum and figs out (one is so sick and the others don't produce)
  • Clean up the garden
  • Order mulch
  • Plant all ordered plants: onions, strawberries, plum, apple, persimmon, service berry, ornamental grass, and lots of flowers for the new front flower bed


  1. I often think there must be a fast, effective way to wash greens. Usually I think this while I am (tediously) washing greens. ;)

  2. I just laughed when I read your comment about those one line items that take hours (or even days) to cross off the list - boy do I know about that!

    And you still have quite a lot in your stores - that's impressive considering you've been eating from them all winter!

  3. Looking good! So glad you've thawed out! I'm really impressed by your list of things you still have from last year! Wow!l

  4. April task: finish shoveling snow off the beds. Says it all.

  5. I'm always impressed by how organised you are with your succession planting, harvesting and preserving. It never snows in Adelaide and even frosts are rare, so I have never experienced the issues you describe. Happy gardening!

  6. I know exactly what you mean about the shade problem. My garden has some very strange light conditions. Wouldn't it be nice (sometimes) to have a garden that got direct light from ALL directions?

  7. It's hard for me to imagine gardening in a place with such a cold winter. You are getting the exciting part of the gardening year though, all that planting.

  8. Oh wow, how fantastic that you have all that food in your freezer and elsewhere. Home grown is just the best. I love that tray that you are using for the brassica seedlings too! Keep up the great work :D

  9. I am sure all your efforts this coming month will produce another abundant harvest for next fall. I am shocked to see you still have quite a lot of corn and carrots in the freezer still, impressive, they are things we go through a lot. Had to giggle this past month too as I too have had to buy veggies from a supermarket, I was outraged at the price and the lack of taste. Transition in the garden will do that to any of us. I hope to be back to eating my own food again by the end of this month. As always I love reading your posts.