Stacking Functions Garden

Spring happenings


Planting onion starts, via The New Home Economics

It’s all starting. I planted my snow peas last weekend, but that was about it. I had to take time off work this week to stay home with my spring break kids, so I accomplished a lot in the garden. Today, I put in my onion starts—I buy them at Mother Earth Gardens. Yes, planting the thread-like baby onions is a little tedious, but on a glorious partly-cloudy 60 degree morning, well, I guess it depends on your level of tolerance. I was just happy to be out planting and it was soon done.

I also planted some radishes—they weren’t part of my garden plan for this year because for the last several years they’ve performed so dismally for me. But I was staring at the garden on Thursday (true story), and I realized that I have a month (at least) before I could plant tomatoes. Radishes are supposed to take around 30 days, so I decided to try them once again, but this time at least two weeks earlier than I’ve ever planted them before. They like cool, rainy weather, so fingers crossed that this time I’ll see radish success. I planted them precisely where I plan to plant tomatoes. Will this work? We’ll see.

Sprouting serviceberry branches, via The New Home Economics

Anneke and I also attempted some propagation this past month or two. Here are several branches I trimmed from our serviceberry. Adam is keen on adding all kinds of native shrubs to his family’s hunting land, for deer, turkeys, and other game animals to munch on. After starting this experiment, however, I read that in order to propagate shrubs like this you need to trim off an actual sucker with roots, not just a branch. More details on propagating serviceberries can be found here. I’m going to try starting some from seed this summer! So even though this was a fail, we learned and we are now attempting to propagate one sucker that I was able to find.

In other disappointing news, our Sabathani community garden is in trouble. Plans to build a new senior housing complex right next to it mean that, best-case scenario, our garden will be closed for an entire year starting this fall and re-opening in spring 2019. Worst-case scenario, the space will only be available on a very limited basis to residents of that complex. Everything is very much in flux right now and I won’t be able to move forward with my food forest idea for at least a couple of years, if ever. Maybe that’s OK though. I do take on more than I ought.

First bloodroot of 2017, via The New Home Economics

The first bloodroots of 2017 opened up in my yard today. Aren’t they sweet! That’s my thumbnail for size reference. They do sometimes get bigger than this, but not much. I will be interested to see if I can spot any pollinators on them. I’ve seen a couple wasps and quite a few boxelder bugs flying around, but that’s it so far.

Red Lake Currant in early spring, via The New Home Economics

Ben Sarek black currant in early spring, via The New Home Economics

As of today, my Red Lake currant bushes (one of them pictured, top) are barely doing anything while my Ben Sarek black currant bush (pictured, bottom) is almost leafed out. It’s fascinating how different varieties of the same plant will behave.

Soil sprouted radishes, via The New Home Economics

We’ve been eating soil sprouts all winter long, and I really don’t see any reason to stop growing them now that spring is here. I want to try mixing things up, and growing 5 trays of pea shoots, for example, and stir frying them. I really enjoy doing this and highly recommend the book—Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening. Pictured are some radish sprouts; we used them as a topping on black bean and sausage soup.

What’s happening in your garden so far? I can’t remember ever getting going as early as I have this year, partially due to having such a mild winter.

3 thoughts on “Spring happenings

  1. Thanks for the update – we plopped our peas and radishes in this last weekend too, so fingers crossed! Back to your older post about fsps pasqueflowers; i’m thinking we were duped! I just checked their facebook page and someone posted an image of Native Anemone patens with the expected shorter statured white/yellow flower…now I need to rip out 3 years of growth (native purist here!)…should I trust the friends school to have this year’s properly tagged, or maybe try a different nursery…? Sorry to hear about the community garden – good luck!

    • Oh shoot! I’ve been waiting for my FSPS pasque flowers to come up and they haven’t yet—perhaps they didn’t make it this winter. They should be near to blooming by now, yes? Their website seems to have it correct this year:

      It’s possible that I made a mistake and bought something from the regular perennial section instead of the natives section. I’m not a 100% native purist–I have several plants from before I was aware of the importance of natives, and I really love them (example: my magnolia). But I will not buy any more non-native landscape plants with the exception of some fruit trees/bushes.

      Crossing my fingers right now that my baby onions didn’t get crushed by last night’s snow…

  2. Interesting to see that you had to wait that long to plant snow peas. You might have seen my FB post with snow peas from seeds I planted in Feb. We’re having less warm weather than usual and more rain, so I’m hoping they’ll last a little longer than usual – which is not more than a couple of weeks. My Swiss Chard didn’t come up very well, and my spinach not at all. Maybe too cool this year for it back in March.
    Thanks for all the great pictures! I love seeing your BLACK soil! Very jealous. Our red clay is one of the biggest challenges for gardeners. Soil has to be added from the store, along with as much compost as you can produce. Speaking of compost: every year I get some surprises from it. This year it’s a sunflower plant that is already about five feet tall!

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