It seems I have had little time for blogging this month, which is not surprising to me. April is usually a busy month here at Happy Acres.
For one thing, the greenhouse and plant racks are bursting at the seams with seedlings, divisions and transplants. I counted 39 flats today, and with an average of 50 plants per flat that makes for almost 2000 plants I am currently taking care of! Since we have had unusually warm weather this month, that has kept me busy watering – a chore which I have been doing about twice a day.
Some of the plants are destined for the Master Gardener plant sale, which is our organization’s annual fundraising event that will feature over 10,000 plants for sale to the public. Last year we sold 1000 tomato plants alone in the first couple of hours, many of them heirlooms and all of them lovingly tended by MG’s like myself.
I’m growing about 350 tomato and pepper plants that are going to our MG food bank garden, which is now in its 5th year of operation. That project certainly keeps me and a lot of other volunteers busy this time of year. We have potatoes in the ground now, with cabbage, onions, beets and green beans going in this weekend – weather permitting.
A new project I am involved with this year is a food pantry garden our church is growing. I have about 150 tomatoes and pepper plants going for this project, and today I started 4 flats of squash and cucumber seed for it. This project is really a leap of faith, since we don’t yet know how many folks will volunteer to help, plus we are just now getting the plot(s) of ground broken up! I have no doubt though that any and all of the food we grow will be appreciated by the folks who receive it. We will deliver this food to food panties and other food programs in our area.
Of course I’ve been busy planting, mulching, etc here at home too. I’ve got all the spring brassicas planted, plus onions planted in the new lasagna bed. I’ve actually harvested a few of the young scallions from this bed already.
I also replanted about half our strawberry beds. I planted a tasty June-bearer called Jewel which will bear next year, when our old bed of Jewel (started in 2008) is done for. I also planted an ever-bearer called Seascape to see how it does. I have yet to be impressed by the performance of the ever-bearing (or day neutral) strawberries. The overall yield seems to be less than I had hoped for, though it is nice to have berries off and on throughout the season.
And yesterday I got 6 early cages of tomatoes planted behind the greenhouse. I’m rushing the season a bit, but this is a micro-climate on the south side of the greenhouse that warms up pretty early. Soil temps have been in the 60’s, so I decided it was time to get them planted. These were some early seeds I started back in mid February, so the plants were nice sized. The time for our last average frost is about now, and looking at the 7 day forecast I think it is a safe bet that we are done with frosty weather this spring. I’ll mulch the plants when the temps are a bit warmer.
We also have proof we are feeding more than one outside kitty. We’re calling the black one Midnight, though we have seen more than one black one roaming around. How many stray cats ARE we feeding? Only time will tell!
So that’s a little taste of what’s been going on around here. It’s a busy, but fun time of year that often leaves me tired but contented. Shel seems to have the right idea – I think I need a nap!