Spring has been coming on for a long time now but with frequent interruptions including three more snow falls, cold weather, frosts, and a week of cold winds gusting from 15 to 30 mph from Lake Superior. To go with the wind we got five inches of rain in two days with the usual “flooding in low-lying areas” as the weather forecasters put it but it made for some fun canoeing. But life persists having adapted long ago to our unsteady weather cycles.
The willows, hazels, red maples, alders, and aspens are past their flowering stage and going into seed production. Now there are many small flowering plants (hepatica, anemone, bloodroot, violets) blooming in the forests taking advantage of the warm sunlight that can reach them before the trees fully leaf out. In the forests and thickets, too, the small flocks of chickadees that foraged in the frozen tree tops during the winter are now accompanied by sparrows, woodcock, and flycatchers. Barn swallows and bluebirds are claiming nest boxes along the edges of my fields and today two robins began building a nest in the fork of an old apple tree.
My gardens are coming along well. During the warm breaks in March and April I re-built my squash beds and tomato bed. By June the moldy hay and bedding should be well on their way to becoming soil and ready for planting. As always garlic and rhubarb began poking up very early in mid-April. The rhubarb has grown huge but looking back at last year it is pretty much on schedule. If the weather gets warm for the next week, however, I expect to be making the first harvest in May not June.
I’ve already planted yellow Stuttgarter onions and some potatoes. The onions are starting to show through the mulch. The potatoes seem a bit slower. This weekend on the garden agenda is planting of cole crops and root crops and massive bee forage patches of dill, anise, coriander, fennel, peas, buckwheat, vetch, and mustard.