A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 1-15 Garden Update

Temperatures have finally reached "normal" for here--upper 40's and that means SPRING!!! The only "color" around here is in this pots on my windowsill. The rest of this post is still our early spring shades of brown and gray. Sigh. The garlic has popped up in the past week --I thinned the straw covering it, but did leave a good protective layer. This is Northern Michigan , after all, and they are calling for snow showers this weekend. The cold frame I sowed April 1st. Radish, Lettuce, Spinach, Carrots, and Bunching Onions. It's grown a bit since I took this photo 2 days ago. I finished edging the west side of the fruit garden and most of the north side. Good thing we grow a lot of stones around here. That cruddy old pond I've been griping about (and ignoring!)---well -THIS IS THE YEAR! I hauled four truck loads of stones from here....some went to the fruit garden, some of the big ones will be used for the Kitchen Window bed, and the rest were piled in storage for later projects and the "new" pond. And the pond area cleaned up with all the rocks and plastic removed. Don just has to move the biggest rocks for me with his tractor bucket. The smaller "big rocks" I'll move to the Kitchen Window border when I recover from this project.
The Donkey Doo in the Fruit Garden that we brought in last fall has composted down nicely and is ready to grow some pumpkins this summer. I ran the tiller through it and gotta say-I hate using a tiller. Noisy, difficult. Glad I don't have to use it but once a year tilling "doo".

And since it's Spring, that means another Hauling Day . The neighbors' Donkeys have been extra busy this winter and we had extra. So , we made one pile that is 10'wide and 20' long that we put behind the vegetable garden. And the rest got distributed to (new)flower borders...............

I'm having to extend the new East Border before I even have it planted. I don't know what I was thinking--with the plans I had made, it's going to have to be much wider. This load of Donkey Doo is a start. I'm still proceeding with planting in the bed I had set up last fall--I just have to work around the fact that right now-it's not wide enough.

And in the Front border, I laid out a cardboard base to help smother weedy groundcover from previous owner on the west side of the front porch. I hadn't planned on getting to this bed until next year, but with extra loads of Donkey Doo this year, I figured what the heck!

Topped off with 3 loads of fresh Donkey Doo. Will top that with heavy layers of grass clippings

once the mowing season begins and let that break down until NEXT spring.

Friday, April 1, 2011

End of the Month RoundUp-March

Arrived home March 18 anxious to get the cold frames set up and get a good start on seed sowing this year. Biggest mistake of my life. This was a brutal March and a good reminder to stay out of Michigan for the ENTIRE month. We did manage a good 15 days of sun. We had three days of light snow. We had 3 days mid month that hit into the 50's (that FOOLED me into thinking we should go home early-BIG MISTAKE) On March 23rd, we received our biggest snow of the entire season-12" of heavy wet snow. It had no trouble sticking around--the temps since then have been 10-20 degrees BELOW NORMAL. FIVE DAYS LAST WEEK WERE BELOW ZERO TEMPS. UGH! Yesterday-March 31st FINALLY warmed up , reaching a balmy 47 degrees-I was thrilled. Actually got out to the garage to clean up my potting bench. The cold frames are still frozen rock hard and the yard is full of snow though so not much else accomplished. REPEAT-----NEVER , EVER (!!!!!) come home early. March SUCKS.
There is NOTHING cuter than baby geraniums!!

The geraniums from the basement..........really not doing so well. NEXT YEAR(!!) I WILL take cuttings in the fall and grow on the windowsills. It works out much better.

The perennials I sowed indoors have poor germination. I'll be curious to see how the winter sown ones did. Last year I had EXCELLENT results that way. I may stick with that for perennials completely next year and just concentrate on the annuals indoors.

This was the "Sidewalk Border" on March 31.

The Vegetable garden is a bit more clear of snow-I'm assuming the dark wood of the raised beds helped to radiate heat out and melt the snow. The cold frames are STILL NOT READY to plant-that is MUCH later than the past 2 years--I always managed to plant by April 1. Not this year.

March sucks.

The "Kitchen Window Border" is melting nicely and some rocks are finally appearing.

I hate March.