April 28, 2008

Finally

a few sunny days--after snowing right through last week. The long cold spring has slowed everything down, the drumstick primroses are only now flowering, for example; they should be long since done. Digging is proceeding, but not at the pace I would like--being sick hasn't helped, either, but at least I can work half days now. I think it will be a long crawl back.
Everything suddenly says spring, and gardeners and farmers here are all starkers, trying to get 19 things done at once. The first farmers market was last Saturday and the day was brilliant and cold; 22F at 5 am, elk in the yard and the Selkirk Mountains (those peaks in the logo image at the top of the page) were iridescent, there must be some serious ice up there.

April 19, 2008

And what to my wondering eyes should appear. . .


you know it's a spring snow because you can hear the robins clucking in dismay.
More of this forecast for the rest of the week!

April 16, 2008

Veggie enthusiasm

Not that I needed anything to add to the vegetable garden, but I found a nice Oriental vegetable seed catalog that had some herbs I needed, and you can't not wander around and see what else there might be. . . like fragrant lettuce, and sword leaf lettuce, spinach beets (??!) and Thai and Indian melons. Evergreen seeds has a lovely amazing list, more varieties of things like cabbage than you'd think possible, and quick service. Highly recommended. Now I just have to wait for the ground to warm up a bit more, to plant anything besides spinach or peas.

April 13, 2008

Farmers' Market

. . . starts in less than two weeks! (April 26th). If I didn't have such a huge cold I might be panicking. But that and today's transplanting and potting, things that are starting to flower, and the new projects I have percolating, all make me rather calm and steady. And I am looking forward to seeing everyone again; in a rural place like this, socializing about stops in the winter, and the first week or so of the market is full of the exchange of the winter's news & hopes for the coming year. In Bellingham they have the ceremonial throwing out of the first cabbage, something I might see if we can try here!

Spring soaping

In between digging and seeding and weeding, I have gotten some more soap made, including the last batch of the original formula for the Damask rose. Until I get a few more roses back in best blooming shape, there won't be much rose oil for soap. But I'm not despairing; I found several lovely rose waxes and have some very promising test batches working. That and the white lavender (my new favorite lavender soap, at least until I get the pink lavender made!) are perfuming the house in a delectable fashion. I've got cedar fronds to infuse for cedar soap, and sweetgrass to process as well; another fragrant week ahead.

Spring's work II

Digging & potting has started in earnest, with peonies and woody plants going first (roses and other shrubs), followed closely by berries, primula, mints and clematis. As I suspected, the strawberries got whacked a bit over the winter (there will be some cancellations), as did the huckleberries and sweet grass--neatly sheared off from underneath.
The 4+ feet of snow left a lot of room for tunneling, I guess. Working in the greenhouse was lovely, just the sound of the birds, including the tropical sounding pileated woodpeckers, and the smell of the sweet violets was almost overwhelming.
I've found a mid-blue violet, seedling from the deep purple ones, which I intend to name after my Mom, and have it and some white ones inside next to each other in hopes of some guided pollination.
They look rather hulking next to the Viola jooi (not quite 2" tall), whose blooms would fit on my thumbnail with room to spare.

I potted on several pans of seedlings from 2007 & 2008, including Acorus calamus, Belamcanda, Rosa 'Naples School' and Delphiniums nudicaule and zalil. The woody tubers of D. nudicaule were a surprise, being a new item for me. The zalil have tuberous roots of course, but the roots of D. nudicaule are like wood chips with green shoots coming out of them.

Another interesting thing I observed today is the rhizome of Iris pallida variegata; if I had had any doubt about rhizomes being thickened stems and not roots, the stripes on these rhizomes would have convinced me!

April 4, 2008

Spring, a little bit at a time

It was warm enough to commence digging yesterday--for the shallow-rooted things in the sunny raised beds, at least. The shady beds are still under mounds of snow. It's always a mystery to see what wintered well, what did not, and what became the winter's taste treat for the rodentiae. Dianthus seemed to be the preferred winter bedding, piles of it were harvested for mousey nests.
Lavatera thuringiaca looks like winter was just a brief nap for it, and the darling drumstick primroses, P. denticulata, are showing their flower buds as they come out of the soil. The teeniest of my prims, P. frondosa, are starting to flower at the towering height of 1/2 inch. The farina that protects them from dessication may also protect them from cold--they and the auricula and denticulata are generously dusted with waxy farina.

The Capron strawberries have been dug, and there weren't as many as when recorded in last autumn's inventory, requiring a cutoff in orders. I hate to disappoint customers, but that's part of farming, dealing with the whims of nature, and I won't send plants that don't look like they will thrive.

Last night it was warm enough to work in the yard, very nice to listen to spring birds in the twilight, the ducks and geese and snipe are busy now.

April 1, 2008

Availability: Berries

The Capron Musk strawberries are now all spoken for, for this year. Profumata di Tortona we have in abundance, as well as many types of Alpine strawberries, and mountain huckleberries. Sorry to disappoint seekers of the Capron.

Update:
When we dug the Capron, there were not as many as it looked like there would be, so there may be some cancellations. Our apologies.

Update II:
There is now a fedex shipper in town, so we will be experimenting with their services for plant shipping, hoping to save you money on shipping, and us some time. Getting the hang of their software is a learning curve we hadn't bargained on, though, so the post office may still be our fave at least for a while.