Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Break Activities

While Spring Break isn't over it is closer to the end than the beginning. Temps were as such: Monday 84, Tuesday 84, Wednesday 85 + hail, today 80. I have a tan. It's retarded. I saw my first grasshopper this week. For real. A friend in northern Illinois said he had a tick and saw a mosquito. I have tomato seeds up in the garden. Wow. We could have a phenomenal growing season if the threat of frost wasn't dangling over our heads.

Needless to say I have a lot to report- hence the head tan.

I transplanted Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Perpetual Spinach (a chard) and Dinosaur Kale. I had to water the hell out of them as they were not pleased that I said they would go out in Spring and it feels like Summer, but we finally got some rain last night. Oh and g.d. hail too and there was a little reprieve in the sun today.
These were the seeds I started over winter break when I realized we weren't going to have winter. Little did I know that we weren't going to have spring either. The bulbs have been melting this week, although the hyacinth still smell ridiculously sexy.

If it's gonna be warm at night and without mosquitoes I figure I better get the biergarten cleaned up. We enjoyed an evening of music supplied by the local band of Toads, Peepers and Leopard frogs and a crackling fire in the pit.

I was going to include a photo of this no-work planter full of buffalo grass and a couple varieties of sedums, but some photo whore jumped into the picture.
Kiki, aka "why are you always taking pictures of dumb plants?"

The garlic planted on January 16th is looking fabulous. I think every single clove sprouted. This is from bulbs I collected in Fall. 

I transplanted the White Hollyhocks that I grew from seed and already hardened off outside (crazy early).

For years I've wanted a nursery to start native plant seeds and I finally put one in. It started with me ordering seed this winter, which meant I was going to have to do something about it sooner than later. One variety, Liatris punctata (a blazing star) had already germinated in the fridge. I made a 4 x 4 bed and an 8 x 4 bed, which fit 24 rows of different seeds.
The violas I grew from seed and overwintered outside are in full force. Very cute monkey faces.

I helped with prairie and woodland burning all day on Tuesday. Lots of fun. Here is my favorite pic from the day.

I started my second bed of strawberries so that I would have rotating crops. Last year I put in Sparkle and this year Earliglow. Here is the new bed I build on a pile of overwintered leaves.

I planted the new red potatoes I had purchased at the grocer to use in my botany class. Why not? 
I just spaded the soil, threw down the potatoes and topped with 3-4inches of compost.

I also planted some new varieties of Nigella or Love-in-a-mist, including Persian Red, Moody Blues and N. bucharica (a grassy looking one). In addition Fakir parsley root and Salsify (oyster plant) went in. I've never grown either of these root crops. About 9 perennial cornflowers (variety Butterfly) went into the biergarten. 
The Salsify had interested seeds that reminded me of a weed (Jupiter's Beard).  It has yellow daisy flowers and huge parachute-seed heads (like a dandelion) I'm pretty sure they must be related. Check out these seeds:

I discovered a former unknown wildflower was a wallflower. It smells great, but you have to get your nose all the way up to it. This was from a "wildflower" seed mix my mom had given to me. It grew last year and bloomed this year.

Various bees and wasps are busy in the orchard dining on Apricot and Plum flowers. This wasp was one visitor.
Many of the daffs are now in full bloom or melting.
A "pink" variety. 

Driveway entrance.

The Spicebush is in flower too.

Last night I came home to this madness:
One of the largest I've seen:
Crazy Ice Balls!

My little helpers give me fuel to garden.

Get off the friggin computer already! Blah Blah Blah.

Happy whatever this season is!

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