What a month we had! This 2018, April was much colder than last year, with snow and a terrible ice storm in Ontario. This first week of May has been quite a contrast, and as soon as the temperatures went up, my garden started showing pops of colour. The earliest spring blooms in my backyard are the daffodils and grape hyacinths, looking gorgeous in the morning light (above); tulip buds are forming, and the forsythia is in full bloom, so “it’s time to sow the carrots”, says an old farmer’s advice. However, as agricultural experts would explain, even though “forsythia bushes are often used as a phenological indicator, i.e., using their annual/seasonal cycle to tell you something else is soon to occur …” it is “ … better to buy a decent soil thermometer, … and keep tabs on the 2-inch soil temperature.”
I followed the experts’ advice, and hence, sowed the cool weather seeds such as pea and radish back in April, but I did notice that the blooming of my forsythia has been quickly followed by the actual sprouting of the seeds, and my asparagus patch changed from just a few tips shyly emerging from the ground on April 18 – after the ice storm – to close to twenty spears in different stages of development, two days ago (I am already planning what to cook with them, yum yum):
FUN FACT: Although asparagus are a relatively new crop in Mexico, the area devoted to its cultivation in the country has tripled in the last decade; in 2017, Mexico was the third largest producer of asparagus in the world.
The Fauna has been active, as well. Bumble bees and other insects are back, including a few mosquitos! Also, a robin family is nesting just outside the garage, perched on a light fixture:
The lettuce seedlings I started under my grow light, and proudly transplanted outside the day before Earth Day, have been used for a meal … probably by a family of rabbits!
(Sigh!) Sometimes you win, sometimes the rabbits win, all part of the give and take in a backyard gardener’s day. The good news is that, when I transplanted those lettuce seedlings, I also sowed lettuce seed in two rows next to them; just as a confirmation of the power of Mother Nature’s tide, the heavy rains of the past two days have already prompted the seeds to sprout, right next to the devastated area:
I will make sure to protect them with a row cover or other bunny-barrier; I would like to taste the lettuce, too!