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Kitchen Gardening

A Fickle Spring

Today is the last day of April and tomorrow we will celebrate May Day--this past month has been cold and wily--have had the woodstove going and the plant babies covered.

  • The garden is tilled and ready to be planted. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Just-sprouted baby seedlings exactly two weeks ago.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Those same seedlings, just two weeks later, hardened off in the cold frame.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Onion plants were put in about two weeks ago and have taken hold.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Shallots were also planted about two weeks ago and are sending out new green growth--the alliums like cool weather.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Fall-planted garlic is looking good--soon we will be eating green garlic!
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Radishes are a great spring crop which need to be sown in successive plantings.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • As I thin the radishes, I bring in the thinnings and snip off the dirty roots. Then I rinse them and put them on sandwiches or in salads.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Sorrel is a perennial herb, which is one of the first up in spring--enjoy this spring tonic--the lemony flavor in soups, salads and sauces.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Violet leaves and flowers are lovely additions to spring salads.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Ahh the lovely tilled garden earth awaiting planting. To the right are mulched beds of fall-planted garlic, as well as a bed of tender brassicas and greens which are protected by floating-row cover.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Although, not edible, these bleeding hearts are a lovely addition to the perennial flowerbed.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger

Today is the last day of April and tomorrow we will celebrate May Day–this past month has been cold and wily here in Maryland–have had the woodstove going and the plant babies covered. Hopefully May will finally bring spring for us impatient Mid-Atlantic gardeners!

Usually once spring arrives, we have both warm and cool days–it is the nature of the season. However, this spring has been cold with little warmth; we’ve had to have the woodstove going and the seedlings covered and in the coldframe. So it seems we are getting a late start for the garden season. No ‘Early Girl’ tomatoes have been sighted in these parts yet!

While cool weather crops like garlic and onions are faring well, many harbingers are only recently popped. Violets, sorrel, mint, bergamot are showing out. The radish seed that I planted in the root moon took off in just a few days and I have had to thin them already.

The tiny salad greens that I brought home from my friend Deb’s about two weeks ago have been hunkered down in the cold frame, which is opened on sunny, warm days and closed at night. They have progressed nicely, are now hardened off, and will be ready for transplanting as soon as the moon is right.

I planted some tender green transplants picked up at a nursery: some lettuces, spinach, and kale and they are covered with some floating row cover to protect them from the deer and the weather.

Don’t be in a rush to get your tender tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, etc. into the garden. They will not be happy if nights drop below 55 or 60 degrees F–they will just sit and sulk, so wait and let the earth warm up.

Enjoy the gardening season–here’s to some warm sunny days–and happy May!

It’s May, it’s May… the merry month of May!



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