How is your Spring vegetable garden growing with the record rainfalls and cold weather this year? In the Lower Mainland, B.C. in April and May there has been much rain, a little sunshine with thunderstorms and hailstorms, often all in one day! The record rainfalls in British Columbia combined with the spring snow melt resulted in devastating floods in several places throughout BC. On the other hand there were a few spectacular sunny days in April and May when the temperature of our greenhouse soared to plus 35 Celsius degrees necessitating covering the greenhouse with its summer shade cloth. So how does your garden grow? Here is a look at my hobby Spring vegetable garden so far this year:
Growing a few Plants Inside
In February and March I started seeds of tomatoes and squash, melons and a few flowers inside. This is a good way to get a jump-start on gardening and to choose varieties that grow well in your climate zone. The plants have all been moved outside into the greenhouse and are doing well.
The Greenhouse - a Bonus this Spring
- Our small greenhouse has saved the day on more than one occasion this Spring when night temperatures hovered around 5 to 7 degrees C or less for days on end. We also had several very heavy hailstorms which knocked a lot of blossoms from the fruit trees but no damage to the transplants.
- Four Early Girl tomato transplants were planted directly in the soil in the greenhouse at the beginning of April. Five weeks on they now have bright yellow flowers. Later tomato transplants are still in pots waiting for the weather to warm up at night so they can be planted in the regular garden.
- Greens have also been planted in containers inside the greenhouse with some planted directly in the soil. To prevent the lettuce being eaten by the many sowbugs they were planted inside inverted plastic pots (recycled) with the bottoms cut out. So far so good.
- Part of my daily spring gardening routine is to check for slugs and bugs in the greenhouse and garden as well as checking the temperature inside the greenhouse and opening the door when necessary. Hand picking pests is not my favourite gardening activity but has been most effective this spring.
The Outside Garden
- Beside last Fall's garlic, the rhubarb, sorrel and chives were first up in the garden in April. Fresh stewed rhubarb and plain yoghurt is a daily taste treat and the plants remaining are now quite large. The rhubarb plants are a giant red variety which is very sweet and juicy.
- Early seeds of peas are 6" high, as well as parsley, spring garlic, potatoes; all are managing, but need a burst of sunshine and warm weather to really take off. And a small batch or red radish were deliciously crunchy.
- The espalier and two other apple trees were covered with flowers and hopefully between thunderstorms a few bees and other pollinators were able to visit the blossoms. I hand pollinated the first early blossoms as it was still quite cold during the day and very few insects were about.
- Several of the portable pollinator pots have been in bloom (chives, Fragrant Mountain Himalayan Sweetbox and thyme) for several weeks.
- About a third of the strawberry plants were lost during the cold, snowy winter and visiting rabbits managed to eat many of them completely. Fortunately, we have found and repaired the hole in the fence - our top rabbit count was 4 in the yard at the same time.
The Slugs & Sowbugs
As mentioned before the sowbugs in particular have been overly abundant in number this spring. At the beginning of April I planted out 6 kale transplants which thanks to slugs and other bugs are struggling. I now have newer transplants twice the size and ready to plant out.
There you have it - a brief insight into my small hobby garden which is a delight and I so enjoy being able to grow a small amount of our own food. There is always something new to learn about gardening and not enough hours in the day. Thanks for visiting my garden. Best wishes with your gardening endeavours this summer. Happy Gardening!
- The Anna's hummingbirds winter feeder has been brought inside as there are ample blossoms and little insects in the gardens. A few migratory Rufous hummingbirds have also returned to visit the flowers, Meyer lemon & Kumquat blossoms on the back porch
- Blossoms everywhere! It is a fabulous experience to walk around our neighbourhood (mid May) as there are several spectacular Dogwoods in bloom. They surely are a mighty sight. There are also many rhododendrons, heather, tulips and fruit trees and our Fragrant Mountain has bloomed for several months.
- Kumquat fruit were made into a tart, tasty marmalade. Great to be able to pick fresh fruit and make into jam the same day.
- Two of the 4 baby fig trees overwintering outside in pots died but the large fig tree (in the ground) does not have any leaves at this time but has over 160 baby figs growing on it. Unbelievable sight!
Links & References:
- Here's a few ideas to start your first vegetable garden
- Plants to attract bees to your garden
- What's not to love about Springtime in the garden
- Parsley - a healthy herb to grow in every garden