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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #360 - A plethora of Puschkinia are pleasing to see.
April 17, 2020

There’s no room in the cold frame. All of the cool season vegetables are overflowing their cell paks and hoping for some nice weather so they can escape to the garden. We are at least a week ahead of our usual first planting date but the veggies are ready to go even if I’m not. They are even spaced a bit apart in there and still filling the space. They do look nice and healthy but maybe I’ve provided a bit more fertilizer than was absolutely necessary?? The other secret, of course, is this is not a true coldframe but rather a hot frame as there is a heating cable in the gravel floor that let’s us use it even earlier in the year. As long as they don’t root down into that gravel too much they will transition to the sub irrigation containers and the garden quite happily. The idea is to have our own produce to eat as soon as possible to avoid having to join the lineups at the grocery store. Of course, we seem to have lots of time to devote to the garden since we are not supposed to leave the house. At least we gardeners can actually enjoy the housebound time and do something very useful with it. Apparently the various online seed companies are seeing a huge increase in their sales as lots of people are thinking that having their own food supply might be a good idea. Our secret is out!

When I was in the basement transplanting seedlings I noticed this “dormant” Amaryllis becoming not so dormant. It was showing a few flower buds even though it was in a cool, slightly dark, place and hadn’t seen water for a few months. That’s Amaryllis for you, they will try to flower under any conditions when they are ready to do so. This was one bulb a few years ago and it just kept multiplying and being repotted. I can count 14 bloom stalks developing. It would be spectacular if they all bloomed at once but I can see that some are more advanced than others. Nonetheless it will make quite a show when all those blooms decide to open. It spends it summers outside in about a half day of bright sun and it gets watered regularly with some fertilizer in that water almost every time. I have a collection of Amaryllis, from a few years of growing them, but this is by far the biggest one. I’ll show you it in bloom in a future edition of “Dallying.”

Puschkinia is a delightful small bulb that putters along for a few years and then suddenly seem to take over any available space, including invading the lawn. There were probably 40 or 50 bulbs scattered through this little garden a few years ago and this spring they have gone raving mad and I think it’s wonderful. There are a few other things happening in this space, which notably, has not received its spring clean up as yet. There is a delightful white/pink Hellebore just starting to open its flowers and it was new last year. Buried amongst its detritus on the right side is a large Cytherea Peony, a most interesting variety that does not bloom all at once but rather staggers over a few weeks. At the back is Princess Marguerite, a David Austin rose that has yet to be pruned but is showing a couple of tall healthy stalks that I must prune soon and as well, prune out the couple of black stalks that didn’t survive the winter. That’s Mother Nature playing with me again. 5 or 6 tall rose canes all from the same plant and some survive and some don’t????

It looks like we will eat our first Asparagus quite soon and it will be early this year. If we get any before the last day of April we see that as a real treat. Several stalks are just showing above the soil and I’m sure they have been shivering through the snowfalls that we have been experiencing over the last few days. A day or so of warm sunshine and they will burst forth to provide us with that first feed from the garden. I have just spread an ample supply of Acti-sol, my favourite organic fertilizer over both asparagus beds and a little rain will start to deliver its nutrients to those 20+ year old Asparagus roots. I once told my eight year old grandson how excited I was about the first Asparagus and he informed me that he didn’t like it. When I pointed out that had never tasted it and asked how he could make such a judgement, he quickly informed me “Grandpa, it’s a vegetable!”

I apologize in advance. We will probably have a significant snowfall in the next day or so. The weatherman is not predicting it, but, that’s my snowblower that I moved to the back of the shed today so that I could move the rototiller and lawnmower up to the ready position. I know I should have waited until middle of May or maybe June but I threw caution to the winds. May we all enjoy our somewhat enforced gardening time.

To ask a question just “reply” to this ezine. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Deb Asks? Peter asked me to ask you about our cedar trees. We have arrangements of cedars in 3's planted together and the squirrels seem to be removing the foliage almost down to the trunk from the top couple of feet of one tree in particular, the fresh branches are then left on the ground. What is this about? Picture enclosed.

Ken Answers! Tell Peter that he has apparently antagonized the local squirrels and they are retaliating. Never seen anything like that before:-)

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