Sunday, April 6, 2014

Garden Ho!

In most of the northeastern US, the earth is finally ready for gardening.  Here in Rhode Island, March is normally an alternation of warm days (that tempt the gardeners) and hard freezes (that remind them it's too soon).  But this year the ground has mostly stayed frozen and dormant, and even on the rare warmish day there has been no deluding oneself that winter had departed.

Lately most of the nights have stayed above freezing.  The robins have left the woods and are to be seen again on the lawns and fields hunting for the rising earthworms.  The phoebe has returned to her perches. A long, steady soaking rain filled the streams and rivers to bursting and now the sun has come out.  Anyone with a drop of gardening blood  was out yesterday, clearing away the winter's detritus.  I raked my little raised beds in preparation for planting spring greens and pulled the weeds from the hugel.

The oregano and sage are putting out a few new leaves, and the first little fists of rhubarb are pushing through.

I dug up a handful of the jerusalem artichokes - each plant seems to have a tuber about the size of a chicken egg.  I ate one that I split with a pitchfork.  It tasted like a carrot, though with neither the sweetness nor the bitterness of a garden carrot.  (And since I gave up trying to coax a carrot from my garden, I'll take that as a win.)

I've been ridiculously late in ordering my seeds, but I took some of last year's leftovers and got them into the ground: mustard greens, mesclun mix, spinach, and chard.  Some I planted on the hugel, and others under cold frames in the raised beds.