Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring Garden Update-April

Spring Garden Update...We continue to have crazy weather with snow just 3 days ago, hail, thunder, wind, lots of rain, and really really cold spring temperatures. This is exceeding the Portland average for Spring weather craziness. I am beginning to lose my tolerance and patience.

We are now past Portland's average last frost date of April 15. I know it's an "average" date of last frost, but come on, it's actually still snowing here and there. A week ago we had a 60 degree day followed by a sunny 85 degree day. It was incredible. Since my germinated seeds have been so slow to progress in my garden, I indulged in some instant gratification buying 2 tray packs of lettuce starts. Lettuce is relatively cool tolerant. I planted it in the empty bed that's set aside for summer squash planting in late May. I figure they will be fully grown and harvested by the time the weather has warmed up enough for planting summer squash. But, I actually ended up covering them with cardboard boxes overnight when it suddenly dipped into the low 30s again. All right then, the weather needs to take it's bipolar medication. That's my official opinion as a professional gardener and a former mental health professional.

Ok, now that I'm done complaining about the weather...So, when we had that lovely 85 degree day a week ago I went ahead and purchased and planted nursery starts of flowers & herbs to attract beneficial insects: dill, calendula, alyssum, bronze fennel, cosmos. Looks like they have survived the cold-snap that immediately followed their planting.

Most of the seeds I started in the end of February and through March germinated fine but have really ceased to grow due to the cold temperatures. I have only harvested a meager sampling of radishes, the perennial parsley & sorrel, also overwintered onions, and green garlic. My pea seeds were the first to go in the ground in late February and the seedlings have not grown above 1 inch. Peas like cool temperatures, and even they seem stunted by the cold weather.

I was surprised to find some small parsnips where I started parsnip seeds last summer in anticipation of a winter harvest. I did not harvest any parsnips this winter, in fact I thought all the seed failed. But here they are poking up their tall green tops and getting bigger every day. I'll have parsnips this spring which is a delightful unexpected surprise!

Here's to Spring Garden Surprises,
Miss Jolie Ann

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