bits of spring

it is so nice to be able to get back outside into the gardens.
the ground has thawed out enough and is even starting to be warm enough in spots to plant a few of the early crops and to start cleaning up and getting ready for the coming season.
the bees are out gathering nectar and pollen from the crocuses. i'm always glad to see the bees and amazed they get to work so early in the season. the bunnies are doing a fair job at eating some of the crocuses too. i have to keep spreading the flowers around to make sure there are plenty for everyone to enjoy. the chipmunks will be along later in the season to take their fill too.
in the north central garden the ground was dry enough to plant some rutabagas, onion seeds and turnips, and while i was there i also put some peas in a few spots. perhaps the peas will be able to sprout before we get too cold weather again. the forecast is looking ok for some nice warm days here or there, but the night time temps will be below freezing once in a while. we'll see what happens...
and while i've been reading along in some places about what to do with ashes, that they would kill plants if used too heavily. well that's not true for chives. i dumped several buckets of them on the chives last fall hoping to kill them off (i want to thin that area back a bit) so i would not have to turn them. i took a look at them today and the chives are growing up through the ashes like nothing at all has happened to them. hahaha... love it!
many of the turnips left last fall as a cover crop did not make it and that means they are now giving off this divine smell of rot that means chow is on the menu for the wormies. in a few of the more protected spaces where the snow was deeper there are enough solid turnips left that i could eat some, but i'm going to leave as many as possible to get a population flowering and reseeding themselves. i'm hoping i can do the same with the rutabagas.
otherwise, plenty more to do yet to get ready for other plantings. have many buckets of ashes to use up as either fertilizer or as deeper fill to raise up low spots. fences to clear of bean stalks. general puttering about. :) i've had to do a bit of walking to get limbered up and to remind my body that it really needs to move more than i have been the past few months. when there are plenty of good books to read i tend to keep doing that instead of thinking about exercise -- i've never been one of those sorts who can just exercise without having something useful come of it besides the usual.
well i hope other folks are starting to get out more and are enjoying the warmer weather too.
oh, if anyone has any experience growing sweet cicely that would be good to hear. recently came across a mention of it and it sounds like a good plant for me to try.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

I must be quite a ways south of you ... Our new strawberries are doing well , we have lettuce and bok choy up enough to start thinning , and yesterday I noticed that the beets are coming up . We're hoping for a few non-rainy days so I can get the rest planted - it really is "too wet to plow" here right now . On another upbeat note , I went by a friend's house the other day to work on his Harley , scored a pair of outer tines from a tiller he's scrapping that fit my free tiller . Now I can get close to twice the area done in the same time . I still have some prep to do before I can plant the new area . Just as soon as it dries out a little ...
--
Snag



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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

yes, i'm in mid-Michigan. we've had plenty of snow on the ground that has had to melt (there's still piles of it in the shady places yet). the only reason we've not had flooding this year is that the warm spells have come without much rain and then there have been a few days of cold weather here or there to slow it down. the low spaces the ground is still too wet to plant or turn, but most of our gardens are raised to avoid the floods and that lets them dry out early enough to work if the weather cooperates. for the few lower and flat areas i try to slope them a little so that they drain (without eroding).

:) free stuff to reuse is great instead of having to pay for it new.
songbird
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Derald wrote:

Why is it a problem if the bees work on your veges?
"Discovered" an abandoned bathtub which I shall move into the

Make sure it drains well, if the drain gets plugged you may drown your veges.
D
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On 12/04/2014 8:13 AM, David Hare-Scott wrote:

I was wondering exactly the same thing. I'm always happy to see the bees at work and because of reports of declining population now spend a lot of time just watching out for where the bees are working to make sure I have a healthy active population in my garden.
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Fran Farmer wrote:

One way to have an active healthy bee population in your garden is to have a hive or two of your very own . We've wanted to do this for several years and are now in a place where we can . I'll be picking ours up <established colony , from a local beekeeper> at the end of May after the sustainability weekend beekeeping class . We've seen bees here , but very few - and we're putting an orchard in this year . There are other pollinators around , but I like the other benefits of having bees .
--
Snag
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Terry Coombs wrote:

I am lucky, no hive required. I have more than you can shake a stick at.
D
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

...

Derald favors native bees over the honey bee.
here i see such a wide variety of bee species that i don't worry about it at all. the bees i've seen the most of recently do look like the honey bee.

rubber ducky weather.
songbird
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David Hare-Scott wrote: ...

plus there are ways of setting up things to encourage other species of bees too other than just the honey bee. no hives needed for many of them. we have a species of bee that likes to use the electrical plug outlets in the garage as nesting sites. the holes in the shop vac that are countersunk down a bit had some action last year too as when we used it the other day several of those holes were packed with mud.
songbird
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wrote:

Yesterday I saw at least 1 wasp visiting the citrus trees in the greenhouse. This time of year I have to open the door to the greenhouse during the day and even then it can get up to 90°F .
I have 3 potted citrus trees (Mexican Lime, Key Lime and Meyer Lemon) that go into the greenhouse in the winter. They will go onto the deck when it gets warm enough. The 10 day forecast is for lows in the 30°s next week. Thankfully I have no more plants that need to go out yet and everything that is out will do fine.
--
USA
North Carolina Foothills
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Derald wrote:

today will be nice and then we are in for some rainy weather and a retreat to cold too for a few nights below freezing. the rain is needed as i much prefer rain to using the well water.
i hope this cold doesn't make it that far south.

i only get early gardening started when it gets to be around tomato worm season. i'm more of a night owl. getting up too early is rarely easy. some times it is much easier for me to just stay up all night. :)
are you letting those second year onions make seeds for you to replant or just enjoying the flowers?
i still have onions growing from seeds i planted three years ago that are hiding under some birdsfoot trefoil. i check them once in a while to see if they are big enough to harvest. last year there were a few onions about 8cm across from that patch. considering i completely ignore them the rest of the time that is prime low impact gardening.

you can tell how bad the winter is here by looking at the cedar trees and bushes. in one place the bush has been completely stripped of bark about 50cm above the ground for another 40cm. the snow was piled deep enough they didn't even get to the lower parts of the bush to munch on. they also chomped the bark off much of the remaining sumac that i've been trying to get rid of. i can thank them for that, but it will be back, it's a pretty stubborn plant to get rid of. sends roots out quite a ways and will send up shoots from those.
how is your garlic holding up? it looks like what you sent to me survived the winter. :)

please remember to write up how they do as if they can survive even a bit longer in your heat down there they might do well through our whole summer.

have you ever tried rutabaga aka swedes?
songbird
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Derald wrote:

My aliens are very well adapted. They work hard all year round in large numbers fertilising a very large proportion of my flowering plants. During clover season the pasture hums - quite literally. I never have to hand pollinate anything.
Simply provide them

Bloody mud wasps! We have the black and yellow sort the size of a small bird. They will build mud nests in any opening that they can get to. If any appliance (pump, trimmer, mower) has an exhaust pipe between one and two fingers wide you had better check it before starting. Even if they don't fill the hole completely a blockage produces weird performance issues, you squeeze the accelerator and it goes slower.
D
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Derald wrote:

What exactly is the drawback with honeybees?
More to the point what coual you do about them?
D
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My garlic (which I got in horribly late last fall) is performing "textbook" - ie, what those who scribble much claim it should do (put out roots in the winter but not put up shots until now) - where I usually have 6-8" tall greens that have been laughing at the cold all winter by now. We'll have to see if it does better or worse than normal.
--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

...

one reason to be glad not to live in parts of China.

sounds like you'd have to put a screen, cover or plug on about everything.
we have blue/black mud dauber hornets that will put nests on the front stone wall, but nothing that large. they are very pretty creatures and not very aggressive. the ones that fill in the screw recesses are much smaller and i'm not sure if they are a bee or hornet, but they are pretty mild mannered too.
a friend of ours has a hole in the ground that was dug by bees using the dirt for nest building material. he said it took him a long time to figure out what had dug that hole because there were no tracks around to give it away. bees/wasps are not the most immediate thing that comes to mind.
songbird
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Ecnerwal wrote:

i've planted fairly late and fairly early and still had edible garlic.
so far the largest differences i've been able to influence are by selecting the largest cloves for planting and making sure there is enough space between them. the rest is via normal things like nutrients, moisture, and then the less adjustable conditions like the weather.
a few weeks ago i planted a half dozen cloves that i had sitting around waiting for the ground to thaw. they were still in fairly good condition. dunno if they will finish along with the rest that i planted last fall or if they'll go longer. we'll see...
songbird
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The Cook wrote: ...

the bees will find them eventually. :)

do they lose their leaves in the winter months?
songbird
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songbird wrote:

If those trees lose their leaves any time they are very sick and stressed. They may grow new leaves and recover but this will set them back. TTBOMK there is no naturally deciduous citrus.
D
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