Sunday, April 22, 2012

Apple Blossoms in April?

A collection of later tulips.
I like these multi-stemmed bloomers.This is my favorite French Sorrel - good taste and strong grower
This is also a sorrel but smooth leaves. I am just not as fond of this as the other.
The hoop house is really producing.
The apple trees are very close to FULL bloom in April.

Double Daffodils have one main problem - the flowers are too heavy for the stem and so even without rain they fall over...
One of three bulbs to bloom - hope that the others will make their show next season after they grow. These are really out of their zone here in Wisconsin.

This weather is strange. The apple trees are close to full bloom and we are a full week away from May. Finding honey bees on the trees is close to impossible and my draw is my Snowdrift Crab apple in my front yard that is 20-25 plus feet tall and will bloom this week. However, I will probably be able to count on one hand the number of honey bees that come to it and likely never find my three fruit trees in the back yard. Sure hope those secondary pollinators show up.
All the flowers will have bloomed and we a ways off from Mothers Day too. Lilacs used to be the flowers of choice for end of year assemblies at schools but this year they will be a month gone by that time as I have one blooming already and the others are soon to follow.
The hoop house spinach is in its full glory and we have salads daily. The tomatoes are up in the greenhouse and the peppers should be next. I have been having some difficulty with the pelletized onions - getting them to sprout - so I tried a small tray instead of individual cells and hope that will make some difference. I also tried radish in a seed flat with the intention of growing them to maturity, if it works in a cold frame - maybe I can foil the root maggots and slugs and get crops all season - that's what the experimentation is all about.
Tulips and late double daffodils are in bloom and I succeeded in getting a fritillaria
to bloom for me - now if I could only grow turf in the front lawn!
Happy Gardening

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Compost Bin Plans

Bi-color species tulips and crocus - Happy Easter
Compost bin plan -6'x6"x/5/8" Cedar fence board - Cut them in half - 3 ft
Measure for your notch - 3 inches in from end first mark to start knock out notches.
Make the notch the same size as the thickness of the board used - here the cut is 5/8inches. Cut both sides on the inside of your mark and...
Punch them out - because this is cedar they break out easily - your helpers can do this.
Do this on both ends of your boards so that you have a "Lincoln Log" system board that will be the sides of your compost bin and will allow air into the heap.
Stack them together and fill with your garden refuse and start your compost. Remember to keep the composted materials watered in the summer. Turning is your option.
This is an 8 board bin and I will be screening this soon and any material not broken down will go back into a newly started bin in the bottom as the starter layer.
I have planted lettuce and more radishes in the hoop house - Note another great garden tool is the planting board. (plans for it are in April of 2009 blog entry) or Goggle "planting board" and the images will come up.

I remember Easters of the past when snow covered the ground and Easter egg hunting was all in the house - well not this year. The grass is green and getting ready to cut so hiding eggs would have been easy.
The species tulips are in bloom and buds are visible on the apple trees. The frost several nights ago - 28 degrees- took its toll on the yellow magnolia buds so I may not get many flowers. Other plants seem to take it and the spinach in the cold frames and hoop house were fine.
I put my display cold frame back together in preparation for having a place for hardening off seedlings that I have been starting in the greenhouse. The beets, dandelion greens, and onions have sprouted and I re-seeded more onions and lettuce yesterday. Tomatoes and peppers are not far off, but because I had to cancel my May fishing trip to Canada, I have a bit more time in the seed starting calendar.
If you haven't built a cold frame yet there is still time to get the job done and have the space for seedlings. The plans are on the web ( Google - "cold frame manual") and back in the blog in April of 2009). A season extender is a great thing to have in your garden array. Also, this week I was talking about compost bins and thought I need to post mine which is easy, movable, and simple enough that children/grandchildren can help in making one.
6 foot by 6 inch cedar fence boards - dog eared do perfect - are the basis for the bin. You cut them as the pictures above show and stack them as high as you want. 6 0r 8 broads will make a nice size bin and its very portable. I have two in the garden and usually turn them once a year by screening the compost I want out of them then tossing the contents that need more time into an empty bin that I will start for the next year. The fencing material is inexpensive - mine were less than $2 a board so for less than $20 you can have a nice natural compost bin. I now have three and will start the new one in the space where I took the trees down last spring.
Happy Gardening