Last night I sat down and enjoyed Sorrel Chicken with the very sorrel you see in the picture above. Yep, sorrel can make it through the winter without a hiccup (even a Bend winter!) so long as it is planted in the ground. 🙂
To say I was tickled beyond a smile is an understatement. While it did take a year for my two sorrel plants grown from seed to be this strong, and I was able to enjoy it last year as I showed in this video, it is already doing better in April than it did during the strongest month last year.
Sorrel Chicken (watch episode #1 of season 3, The Simply Luxurious Kitchen)
All of this is to say, Spring has sprung! The time has arrived to start the bustle of putting plans into place, sowing the seeds, stepping outside into the dirt and having more than just a little fun. 🙂
Today I would like to share with you 14 things I will be doing, enjoying and savoring this month as the investment of our time in spring offers amazing dividends in the summer and beyond. Let’s take a look.
Looking forward to a day off next Friday, I will be excitedly spreading the compost full of organic material around my garden as liberally as possible. The delivery truck will be unloading early in the morning, and my workout begins shortly thereafter with wheelbarrow and shovel in hand.
This year I have chosen to apply compost rather than bark as the compost will do the same thing regarding water retention and weed prevention, but with my soil being so incredibly dry, I wanted to add back as much nutrients as possible. Hopefully my perennials, annuals and vegetables will do the talking in the aesthetics department. 🙂
2. Planting shallots
Always having a couple of shallots on hand in my kitchen (I kick myself whenever I neglect to restock), I am excited to grow my own shallots this year. Each bulb can amazingly produce 6-12 shallots, and they store well during the winter providing a bountiful crop throughout the year eliminating or at least greatly reducing my need to run to the store to resupply. 🙂
I started mine in a seed tray last weekend, half-submerging them in soil. As soon as the tops begin to produce green shoots and roots appear at the bottom (and after I place my compost in my garden next week), I will be planting them outdoors as they can withstand the frost. Hopefully I will be harvesting them in early August.
3. Planting my vegetables
From broccoli, to radishes, more lettuces (my second go-round as the first crop was harvested in March and late February -see the image below), courgettes and pumpkins, I am excited to try to grow more of my own vegetables from seed. While I won’t be able to plant them outside until after the last frost (which is in early June for Bend), I am using my indoor mini-green house to keep them warm and happy.
I began planting two Chef Choice tomatoes a couple of weeks ago and have already transplanted them. Last weekend I sowed the seeds for the four remaining types of tomatoes I am giving a try, and in a couple of week’s time, I will transplant them into their individual pots.
4. Savoring the daffodils blooming in succession
The first to bloom were the Double Daffodil Repletes which have now concluded their performance. Currently the British Gambles are blooming, and soon my Art Design Double Daffodils will begin to bloom (in fact a few have already begun to open). Needless to say, the daffodils have been a lovely bridge from winter to spring as the latter season arrives a bit later here than in most areas.
5. Delighting in the Snowdrops
Already six inches tall with their green shoots rising from the ground, the snowdrops are nearly ready to share their blooms, but not just yet. When they do, I cannot wait to see the small sea of white and green next to my forsynthia under my pine tree. 🙂 Stay tune for pictures in next month’s A Cuppa Moments (have you checked out this month’s yet?).
6. Sowing the seeds of annual flowers
I will be giving my best efforts to growing annual blooms from seed to save money and hopefully create a mini cutting garden in my boulevard as well as introduce color throughout the summer season. From Snapdragons (just last weekend, I transplanted them once they were one inch tall to their individual small pots -see below), to Bells of Ireland, Cosmos, Nasturtiums, Larkspur and Prairie Sun black-eyed susans. Fingers crossed!
7. Eagerly waiting for the Globemaster Alliums to shoot from their base and share their awesome spherical charm
Last fall I planted about 20 bulbs both in my boulevard to add some early color and in my herb garden near my kitchen to add height and color during the early summer and late spring. I am absolutely tickled by how well they are doing thus far, and perhaps by month’s end, we’ll see spherical purple orbs appear.
8. Feeding my roses
The first feeding of the year for the roses will take place this month, and already I am seeing my roses beginning to prepare to leaf-out. The second feeding will take place after their first bloom which is usually late June.
~I use David Austin’s Rose Food
9. Repairing my lawn
Having pups is far more important than having a perfect lawn, so I am combating a few spots that need new sod. Not large, so I am just going to repair with a single slab of grass and hopefully create a more presentable broadview of my small lawn area.
10. Keeping the birds happily fed
The morning birdsong has begun, and it tends to carry all through the day (in fact, on Sunday they serenaded the neighborhood all through the middle of the day and then upon evening when I sat down on my garden porch, they were soothing us again with their melodies). Keeping my two feeders full seems to keep the music happening as so many goldfinches and cassins as well as a few birds I haven’t been able to identify show up at Le Papillon’s bird cafes every day without fail.
~I make sure to have Black-oil sunflower seed in my birdfood mix. Here is birdfood that is entirly black-oil sunflower seed (recommended from the National Audubon Society, and here is the mix I use from Wild Birds Unlimited.
11. The first visit of the year to the local nursery
WIth a handful of perennials I want to purchase to fill in areas in the garden along with herbs I don’t have to grow from seed, I will be stopping by the nursey for the inaugural visit of the 2021. I love this first trip as has become somewhat of a celebratory ritual of a fresh start. Toodling through the greenhouse with my wagon, delighting in all of the beauty and hardwork no doubt the staff has been up to over the many months prior, it is a yearly ritual I look forward to all winter long.
12. Sowing herbs
For those handful of herbs that are not available as plants in nurseries, I sowed two weeks ago my Chervil, more Sorrel (althought last year’s sorrel is doing well and already quite happy as it winters well if planted directly into the ground), bush Basil.
~Read this post to discover how you too can sow your own seeds – 12 Simple Steps for Success
13. Planting out my foxgloves (but still covering at night)
I planted out three of my foxgloves this past week on the south side of my house in the herb garden (to provide color when the alliums are done), but have been covering them with mini glass cloches (aka as glass vases :)). I think they will be fine, but I am trying to acclimatize them a bit longer until they are stronger. I have about 10 others I will be planting out on the east side later this month.
14. Planting winter orders now shipping and planning the boulevards
Gradually I have been adding perennials and roses to my boulevard and someday hope to have it quite full and capable of offering color beginning in late spring and running through early autumn. So far I have quite a bit of space to play with, but as I see what works well where, I will begin to add more plants. For example, I would like to add more salvia (deer resistant and continually grow in size from year to year, filling up great spaces for late spring and early summer color).
Arriving this month will be hellebores, lupins, a couple of small butterfly bushes and Geranium Rozanne I purchased this past winter and I am excited to add them to the garden. It’s fun to ‘paint’ in the garden, and as I am not a traditional painter or artist when it comes to adding color to a canvas, my garden has become my ‘canvas’. Some things will work, some won’t, but the fun is in trying and experiment. And when it works, oh my! 🙂
Needless to say, I am giddy that it is spring, and my garden seems to change overnight. As I was doing some weeding last weekend, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how much peace I felt all last spring, summer and early fall each time I was outside pottering/puttering around. The healing gift our gardens provide is as near priceless as it can be after we’ve purchased the seeds, paid for the bulbs and invested in the proper tools. 🙂
It is early evening as I type, and as soon as I close my laptop, I will be sitting down on my garden porch with a hot cuppa, letting the birdsong lull my busy mind to a crawl and taking in the lawn that is slowing showing its green for the year, smiling with each peek at the daffodils and feeling grateful to have a space, no matter how small, to work with Mother Nature and discover what patience and collaboration with the weather that is offered can produce.
Wishing you a wonderful spring in your own garden, and may your seeds sprout, your nails gather dirt and the rain and sun provide in ideal amounts what your garden most appreciates. Bonne journée!
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