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A Menagerie of Useful Plants and Things Handmade...

Garden Update & What We Are Up To

4/28/21 – Almost May!

Weather: We had such a streak of sunny weather in April, it was almost alarming, with temps approaching 70 and very little rain. Despite chilly nights, it appears our last frost date was April 12, which is early for us. I like to guesstimate April 15, but I remember getting frost one year on May 1, right after I planted squashes. April is usually one of our rainiest months and a time when we appreciate the added snow pack in the mountains. We are now back to more normal temps in the 50s with occasional rain and drizzle, and I am thankful.

Blooming: Dandelions, brassicas, cherry blossoms, and the red-flowering currants are the big show-stoppers right now. Apples are just coming on. Honeyberries, huckleberries, and currants are among the early blooming berry-bearing shrubs. The pollen-heavy willows are definitely a huge bee attractant. A combination of lungwort, forget-me-nots, and purple deadnettle is particularly beautiful in the shady garden. Opened up recently are the elder blossoms and the rosemary. Fading fast are the star magnolia and daffodils. See more at our April Gallery page.

Main Garden Tasks:

  • Planting and Transplanting:  Our main activity right now is getting our seedlings transplanted. I am focusing on quite a few dye plants and herbs; not so many annual vegetables.
  • Mulching: Let the mulching harvest begin! The grass is a lush green and already knee high (or higher!) in the Pacific Northwest. I am sharpening up the scythe to cut it back before it goes to seed; piling it around all the perennial shrubs to block weeds, conserve water, and protect the soil. 
  • Water / Irrigation: The County turned on the irrigation ditch, so we are back to having water on tap for the garden. Yay! Now to get all the lines flushed, do repairs, and get things back up and running.
  • Weeding: Agggh! The bindweed is back with a vengeance! That sunny weather followed by the rain was exactly what they needed to get running and climbing and choking out every living thing I care about. I can only try to keep after it and keep mulching and building the soil. Otherwise, thistles and grass are also threatening world domination, but I can cut those back and cover them. Everything is really exploding right now!
  • Greenhouse: Getting the wintered-over plants back outside and making room for heat-lovers. Seedlings got a strong start. I wasn’t going to plant tomatoes this year, but I am finding a few volunteers, so perhaps I’ll give them some room. Passion vine, ashwagandha, lemon verbena, wasabi, and my Andean root collection all wintered over fine. Definitely heats up in there when the sun comes out, so am opening the vents and windows to create some cross ventilation. Helping me with insect control are a snake, a frog, and several paper wasps.
  • Harvesting and Foraging: Would you believe MOREL MUSHROOMS???? Try to find them in the wild and it’s slim pickins. Step out my back door, and there they are, everywhere, in the bark mulch! Crazy!  First harvest of rhubarb today. It is already trying to bloom.


Ahhhh! Moment: The Goldfinches and barn swallows have returned! Love watching them!

Rhubarb bud
Red Flowering Currant
Star Magnolia pink blush

Join us in our backyard horticultural experiment!

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