Photo Friday: April Blooms

Today I thought I would share some of the blooming things we have here in early April. I  shared a photo of our flowering cherry tree earlier this week, but our pie cherry tree is loaded with blooms too. It’s a running joke with my wife, so I have to say we might get enough for a cobbler this year! Usually we get enough for several cobblers.

blooms on pie cherry tree

Another edible plant blooming right now is our blueberries. Our bushes are pretty much covered in blossoms, which bodes well for our blueberry harvest this year.

blueberry blooms

Not edible but pretty to look at, our azaleas are also loaded with blooms this year. I feed them every year with a little bit of fertilizer for acid-loving plants, but other than that they are pretty much maintenance free. We have six bushes of them, two each of red, pink and white.

azaleas blooming

closeup of pink azalea

closeup of white azalea

closeup of red azalea

Down low to the ground, our spring flowering phlox is blooming. This one is called Eye Candy, and it has pink and white striped blossoms. It is supposed to re-flower again in fall, though it’s our first year growing it so time will tell.

Phlox ‘Eye Candy’

Also down low, there are lots of Sweet violets blooming. We have two colors, one dark purple and the other whitish-purple. They are everywhere in our lawn, and they sometimes show up in our garden beds as well.

Sweet violet

Continuing with short plants, the Lily of the Valley plants are budding up now. Several years ago we got a start of these from a friend, and they have adapted quite well to a spot at the base of our mulberry tree. They will soon perfume the air with their sweet fragrance.

blooms on Lilly of the Valley

And speaking of fragrance, our Korean lilacs are just now beginning to bloom. We have several of these planted around the back of our house, and this time of year they greet us with their sweet smell every time we go out the back door.

Korean lilac blooming

Last but not least, the wildflower Butterweed is blooming around our gardens. It’s native to our part of the world, and though not planted by us on purpose the yellow flowers are cheerful and bright this time of year.

Butterweed blooms

I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of the blooms of late April here at Happy Acres. I’ll be back soon with more happenings!

 

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Harvest Monday April 25 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We are still harvesting pretty much the same things every week now, with one notable exception. I cut heads of Navara, Salanova Green Oakleaf and Sea of Red lettuce last week that kept us supplied for salads. And I cut more baby greens to go with the lettuce, a mix of pac choi, mizuna, sorrel and Tuscan Baby Leaf kale.

leaf lettuce

Sea of Red lettuce

baby greens

Last year we decided to stop weeding and mulching our old asparagus patch and let it go back to grass. The roots didn’t get that memo though, and have started putting up edible spears. I knew this would happen, and though I doubt we will get a big harvest we can enjoy what we do get.

fresh asparagus

The weather was cool a few days last week, and I made a pot of collard green soup for our dinner one night. That usually calls for cornbread, and I used some stone-ground cornmeal we got on our picnic trip to Spring Mill State Park last year.  The cast iron skillet makes for a crispy bottom on the cornbread, and I try and save room for seconds! They grind the corn frequently at the park on their antique grist mill, and we always try and pick up a bag when we go there.

collard green soup

skillet cornbread

me outside the grist mill in 2021

In non-harvest news, I was finally able to get some planting done last week. I will try and do an update on those activities later in the week. Meanwhile, it is beginning to look like spring here with many things flowering now – including our azaleas, bleeding heart and the Kwanza cherry tree. The first of my wife’s many irises are also beginning to bloom, with more budding up and promising blooms in the days to come.

red azalea

bleeding heart

Kwanza cherry blossoms

Riveting bearded iris

iris cristata

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday April 18, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Lettuce is still our biggest crop now, and we are enjoying it on a regular basis. Starfighter is a green leaf lettuce that makes fairly large heads, and this one weighed in at over a pound. Sea of Red continues to give us plenty of leaves to add color to our salads too. They kept us well supplied last week.

Starfighter lettuce

Sea of Red lettuce

I have cilantro growing in containers in the greenhouse, where it does quite well until it starts to bolt. I snip a few leaves as needed, and don’t usually get photos of them. This time I did and I got a few leaves of flatleaf chives to go with the cilantro.

cilantro and chives

Parsley is another herb I have growing in the greenhouse that gets used here quite often. For this batch I got a few of the I’itoi perennial onions to add to a tabouli salad I made last week. The taboili went well with my wife’s curried chicken salad, and a thinly sliced piece  of toasted sourdough bread completed our lunchtime meal. We like our tabouli with lots of parsley and this time I cut plenty of it.

parsley and I’itoi onions

tabouli with curried chicken salad

And I cut what will surely be the last of the purple sprouting broccoli from the plants in the greenhouse. It wasn’t a great year for it, but we got enough to enjoy it for several meals. I used a mix of the PSB and the collard rapini from last week to make a skillet pasta dish we enjoyed for dinner one night. I sautéed them in olive until crisp tender, then added to cooked farro fusilli along with lemon juice, garlic and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

purple sprouting broccoli

rapini with pasta dish

In other news, I am trying something new (for me) this year: starting radishes indoors in trays. I plan to interplant these with kohlrabi in a week or so. I have another container out in the greenhouse that I sowed with radish seed to see how they do for me that way.

radishes sprouting

And in the good news department, mama bluebird has done a stellar job of tending to her eggs in our colder than usual spring weather. I found three babies when I checked the PVC nest box last week. Only the female incubates the eggs, since she has a featherless spot on her abdomen called a brood patch which allows her to use her body heat to warm the eggs. I have been hosting bluebirds for almost 40 years now, and I never cease to be delighted when a new brood hatches. The ones in the photo are about a week old, and at 17-18 days of age they typically leave the nest.

bluebird babies

Things are beginning to bloom now in the perennial border. Our Korean Spice viburnum has gotten quite large, and is in full bloom right now. The fragrance is heavenly, and perfumes the air all around it.

Korean Spice viburnum

viburnum blooms

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

 


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Harvest Monday April 11, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Salad greens continue to be on the menu here, and I’m pretty happy about that. I cut a bit of Sea of Red last week to add color to our salads. And I harvested a few leaves of mizuna, pac choi and baby leaf kale to add to our salads as well.

Sea of Red Lettuce

baby greens

With lots of parsley in the greenhouse, it was time to make some tabouli salad. I had to use store bought tomatoes which were pretty bland, but the parsley had plenty of flavor to add. I predict this will be on the menu again soon, since my wife and I both enjoy it so much  and there’s plenty of parsley.

flat leaf parsley

tabouli salad

I had a surprise harvest from the vegetable garden last week. I hadn’t checked on the collard greens in a while, and I was surprised to see them flowering already! I cut quite a bit of the rapini, as well as about a pound of the new leaves. The rapini are quite tasty when sautéed or steamed, and I plan to add them to a pasta dish we’re having tonight.

harvest of collards

rapini and collard leaves

In non-harvest news, I made a loaf of sourdough rye bread last week. I baked it in a Pullman pan with the cover off, which gave it straight sides and a rounded top.

sourdough rye bread

The bread made a good, sturdy base for meatless Reuben sandwiches we had for lunch one day using our homemade kohlrabi sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.  We used the panini press to grill the sandwiches, which browned them up on the outside and melted the cheese a bit.

meatless Reuben sandwiches

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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April Greenhouse Tour

It’s time for another virtual tour of our greenhouse to show what’s growing in there in early April. It’s always a busy place this time of year, as I move seedlings from inside under the grow lights to grow on in the greenhouse. I also have lots of greens growing in spring, which keep us supplied for salads and such. I took advantage of warm-ish weather to work in the greenhouse Thursday morning, doing cleanup and potting up some additional greens.

greenhouse before cleanup

I generally plant most of these salad greens in containers, and they do quite well that way. I add a little fertilizer and compost at planting time, and they only need regular watering after that until they are ready to harvest. This year I have arugula, pac choi, mizuna, sorrel and lots of lettuce planted. I’ve got most of the containers sitting on the ground in one of the beds, which will get planted in cucumbers next month. I harvest most of these on an as-needed basis, cutting lower leaves and leaving to plants to grow on.

containers of greens

Central Red mizuna

I started early eggplant for containers back in February, which usually gives us fruit at least a month before the ones planted in the ground. I also started a few early  tomatoes, which I plan to grow in the greenhouse beds. For the eggplants I am growing Gretel, Fairy Tale and Icicle – all AAS Winners. For the tomatoes I started Red Racer, Pozzano and Sugarpeach. All have been potted on at least once now, and are ready for planting as soon as danger of frost is past. That will likely be another couple of weeks, since a freeze is forecast here for Saturday morning.

eggplant and tomatoes

I also started quite a few petunias in February, and they are all out in the greenhouse now. Some have even started blooming, and several more are budding up. We’ll grow these in containers outside, and I usually give away quite a few to friends every year. I believe I potted up over 50 this year, so we will have plenty to share!

flat of petunias

I pretty much always have a few parsley plants in the greenhouse, and this time of year the overwintered plants are big and lush. We use parsley quite often, and it is great to have it on hand and fresh most of the year.

parsley

I have lettuce planted both in containers as well as in ground plantings. The plants in the beds have gotten quite large, and we have been enjoying them in salads for a couple of months now. Bergam’s Green and Slobolt hold quite well, and I will set out a few more plants in hopes they size up before hot weather comes.

salad boxes of lettuce

Bergam’s Green lettuce

I’ll close with a photo of how the greenhouse looked after my cleanup efforts. It could still use a good sweeping out, but at least I can walk around better now! It was also a pleasant way to spend my morning.

greenhouse after cleanup

I hope you enjoyed this look at what’s growing in the greenhouse. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres – including Harvest Monday!

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