Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Garden Report: Spring in the Backyard

The bird's cherry tree will have a bumper crop this year.

A month before the Famers' Almanac predicted April 14th as the last frost day, I set up my potting area.

 I filled the soil-bin with a yummy mix suitable for sprouting seeds.

I planted seeds in reused plastic pots, egg cartons and cut down paper tubes in anticipation of finding the most successful potting container.

Once planted the trays were moved to the Propagation Room to be bathed in the weak early spring sun while being protected from frost by the glass. The sides of the room are open to cool breezes which slows germination rates but it also serves as a hardening-off area once the seeds have sprouted.

I call this the Propagation Room but what really goes on is seed germination and it is a place to safely store plant purchases. I manually water every day but if I find this inconvenient I could get a sprinkler system installed. In the meantime, I enjoy checking daily on what is happening.  Recently I went away for a week but before I left I moved every plant out to a fallow bed that is watered by the automatic sprinklers. I came back to a happy bunch of plants.

The strawberries and peonies have been magnificent this spring.

Yarrow in the 2nd apple guild is loving its sunny location.

Two years ago I planted a trial asparagus patch. It has proven to be most successful. This spring I filled the bed with more asparagus roots/crowns and their companion plants. Now we have to be patient and wait a couple more springs before we can harvest the spears.

The results of my seedling container experimentation. 
I liked the way it was easy to unroll the paper tube and pop the plant, with soil, into the hole without disturbing the side roots. But the tray of tubes became unstable in the now soggy egg carton lid tray and it took a lot of care to not drop the tray.
The roots of the plants in the egg cartons quickly grew into the carton pulp and had to be torn off before planting. My Garden Guru sister recommends not planting with the egg carton attached because the paper pulp takes a surprisingly long time to break down and in the meantime, it restricts root growth.
The reused plastic pots were ideal for the larger seeds, though I have been advised to wash the posts to sterilise them between uses to avoid passing on pathogens.

This spring it has been evident the beds are beginning to mature. I have moved a few shrubs to more suitable locations but this year I am focusing on establishing the herb layer in the beds.


marny said...

Very much enjoyed reading about your seed container experiments. Did you decide on a 'most successful' container? And your whole garden sounds as if it is taking shape so beautifully! There is nothing so enjoyable as digging about in dirt (unless it's messing about in boats??? I shall enquire at Toad Hall!). Love seeing your garden grow!!

Lesley Turner said...

Thanks, Marny. I decided the cut-down paper tubes (toilet rolls and paper towel tubes) were the most successful for the small seeds. I agree about the joy of digging dirt. The flowers and fruit are a bonus.