A Strange Spring

While we have tulips coming up here in the house and we’ve started flats of seeds in preparation for warm weather, outside it has been decidedly odd. We’ve had more snow now in the first week of April than we did in in most of the winter and outside it currently looks like this:

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Ah, spring in Wisconsin! The warm weather, the April showers, the… the snow…

Not exactly what you expect to see when you look out the window on April 7. Tuesday and Wednesday we had winter storm warnings all day long and ended up with about 6 inches of snow here, with some areas getting up to 10. Most of that melted but then we got another couple of inches a couple of days later and there is more snow in the forecast. We’re looking at near record low temperatures in some parts of the state today.

Indoors, though, we’re proceeding on schedule in the hopes that maybe we might get some warm weather. Someday.

Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 6.44.56 AMThe tulips MrsGF potted up a few weeks ago are still going strong with new blooms popping up and it certainly improves my mood when I walk in the room and see those brilliant yellows and reds. I’m really glad she came up with the idea of potting up some old bulbs. It really brightens the place up.

We sat down the other day to sort through the “Bag ‘o Seeds’ we got for Christmas and figure out what we wanted to plant this year, what had to be started indoors and what could be direct seeded, etc. Then we brought up the little portable greenhouse thingie from the basement and set that up.

Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 6.46.08 AMThat’s this thing over here. It’s a folding metal frame with three racks in it with a vinyl cover over the top. It provides an ideal environment for starting seeds. It stays warm and moist inside and lets in enough light to keep things grown and nice and warm in there. Also prevents temperature fluctuations inside the house from harming the plants.

We found a floor pan for a shower that was the ideal size to fit under it to protect the floor. MrsGF already has it filled with flats with seeds, and we already have some tiny little seedlings peeking up through the starter mix.

It works great and was pretty cheap, too, under $40 if I remember right. It’s easy to set up.

It has the added benefit of keeping the cats out as well or you can be sure they’d be in there digging around, nibbling on plants, tipping things over, etc.

Garden Updates

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Even the local dentist’s office is looking colorful these days. Had to stop and take a picture of these guys. There is color bursting up all over, despite the cold weather we’ve been having.

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Apparently once you have catnip in your garden, you will always have catnip in your garden. We made the mistake of putting one plant in about fifteen years ago, and we’ve been trying to get rid of it ever since. The stuff is ridiculously prolific, spreading all over. Still, the cats do like the stuff when we bring in a few leaves for them. They roll around on it, sit on it, rub their faces on it, then fall asleep for two hours. Great fun.IMG_0249.jpg

I’m looking forward to seeing these guys come into blossom. These asiatic lilies usually put on a spectacular show later in the season.

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This is our lettuce/greens bed. About four feet across, this circular, partly shaded bed provides us with more than enough lettuce and fresh greens during the season. It’s a bit early, but MrsGF seeded this one over the weekend. I dumped about 4 inches of compost on the bed earlier and worked it in so we’re hoping for better results than we had last year. We had plenty of greens for salads, but the growth was a bit disappointing. The nice thing about this bed is that it’s partly shaded which helps to keep the lettuce from bolting before we can use it. We generally re-seed in late summer so we keep getting fresh growth right up until frost in the late fall.

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This bed was a motley collection of — of stuff. And the soil was absolutely terrible. MrsGF was very fond of some of the flowers in here, but even she had to admit it needed to be worked up and replanted. We removed old growth, transplanted some root stock she wanted to save, and then worked it up with the tiller, hauled in about 6 inches of compost, worked that in, and she’s put in a mixture of different flowers. I’m looking forward to this. She put in a section of alyssum which smell absolutely heavenly when they come into bloom.

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It’s hard to believe how fast the hostas are growing. Just two weeks ago this plant was little more than a couple of green spikes sticking out of the ground. Even with temperatures dropping to freezing overnight they’ve been growing like crazy. I don’t know how some of these plants survive the frost. It’s been down to 28 degrees at night around here for the last few days.

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Then there is these little guys. They pop up in the most unexpected and sometimes ridiculous places, and I always have to smile when I see one. I love their color, their texture, like dark purple velvet and then that burst of yellow in the center. This little stinker popped up right in the middle of the lawn.