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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #389 - The Garlic emerging is a great promise of good things to come.
May 06, 2022

Friday April 29 was a very tasty day. Once again we had our first Asparagus for dinner before the end of April. A few of the spears were a bit soft and spongy and were probably poking too far out of the soil when the temperature found - 3 C. It’s a great early crop but the emerging spears don’t seem to like beiong frozen. Lots more to come and we had some more last night. As the sun keeps warming up we will soon have enough for dinner on a daily basis. There is of course some natural vegetation (aka weeds) competing for space in their bed and I must get to solving that problem. We really should find a use for all of those weeds that are thriving so well early in the spring.

Here is something else that is thriving early in the season. This is the Garlic that we planted last fall and it is promising a great crop this summer. Yes, those are Dandelions interspersed between the Garlic. I could try to convince you that I am growing it for the leaves in my salad or to provide pollen and nectar for the early pollinators but we all really know that it’s just another of those jobs that I will get to some day.

These Fritillaria are putting out a good quantity of blooms this year. A strange but lovely, early flowering bulb. I keep a close eye on them as they are the only thing that the red Lily Beetles will eat while they ar waiting for the Lilies to emerge. Their bulb also has a rather obvious odour and it can help to plant a few of them among other bulbs to distract the squirrels when they are searching for edibles. They do multiply and this group of three is the result of planting a single bulb a few years ago. They are quite large bulbs and tend to be a bit expensive but we only need a few in any garden,

Most of the cool season vegetables are now planted in their sub-irrigation containers aka Earthboxes. We prepare each container by pulling out the remains of last year’s plants and then dumping all of the growing media into the wheelbarrow and loosening it up and returning it to the, washed, container along with the required amounts of lime and fertilizer. I do quite successfully use Acti-sol an organic fertilizer that is essentially dehydrated, pelletized chicken manure. Some of these containers have very short season crops such as Pak Choi or Kohl Rabi and they will be replaced by late May with Peppers and Eggplant.

How could I forget these healthy clumps of green thriving between the Iris. They are of course, Forget Me Nots, an annual flower that is actually grown intentionally by many. It is also a heavily self seeding plant that some of us see as a very prevalent weed. One gardener’s treasure if often another gardener’s curse. They do have lovely little blue flowers that unfortunately rapidly develop into seed pods. Another example of Mother Nature providing us with crops that thrive in our cool spring days whether we want them to or not.

This is a much happier scene with the advancing red stems of an early Peony happily commingling with a mass of Tulips that are about to burst into bloom. They will eventually fade and leave the space to Pink Angel, that lovely single Peony that is one of the first of the large Peonies to bloom. This constantly changing and evolving display of blooms is the big reason to have a mixed perennial bed.

We have started doing our presentations in person again and it is wonderful to have a live and responsive audience again. If your group is looking for an interesting and entertaining speaker then check out these topics

If you just hit reply to this email you can ask me questions and I will attempt to answer them.

Dan AsksI have a hydrangea that is at least 12 years old. It is becoming less and less prolific and the area seems to be wetter and wetter and I am thinking of removing it. I am thinking of replacing it with a flowering shrub or tree like a Rose of Sharon. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Ken Answers! Have you thought of giving it a severe pruning to see if that rejuvenates it?

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