May 8, 2014

We’ve all heard of Indian Summers, when warm weather lingers even after the first frost. Well, around here we have a similar phenomenon in the spring. I don’t want to insult a large portion of my neighbors, so let’s just call it a False Spring. Starting around April 15th and continuing until May 15th, our weather suddenly warms up from the 40s to the 70s. Everyone takes the winter blankets off their beds and puts up their air conditioners. Gardeners may even be fooled into putting tomatoes in the ground.

Experience has taught me not to risk it. We often have frost in early May, and sometimes even snow or hail. By Memorial Day, the weather turns cool and rainy, a trend that holds sway until mid-July. Great for sprouting seeds and getting transplants established. For camping? Not so much.

I mean it. Don’t every try to go camping on Memorial Day in the Northwest! Fourth of July is dicey, too.

This weekend we have one of our best garden shows of the year. Garden Expo is a free event at Spokane Community College, organized by the Inland Empire Gardeners. There are over 300 vendors with every kind of live plant, tool, craft, and garden art. There are also lectures, live music, and food.

That’s all on May 10th, from 9 am to 5 pm. It’s a fabulous lead-in to Mother’s Day, our traditional date for putting warm-season crops in the ground.

At long last, new neighbors have moved into the foreclosed house just east of mine. They are big men with big trucks and big dogs, but they do seem to care about their yard. I have hopes.

So many sprouts! In Bed 3, I have peas, pole beans and cucumbers coming up. I’ve also continued putting seed in the ground. Bed 7 has Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage in with the broccoli and cauliflower. Plus, I have two planters beside my front porch where I’ve seeded a Rainbow Carrot mix and some Chantenay carrots.

In my main garden, I’ve added Table Queen acorn squash, Howden pumpkins, and Scallop Bush mixed summer squash. The last three spaces are reserved for lettuce, Chinese cabbage and radicchio when they’re big enough to transplant. Then those spaces will be home to my second wave of corn.

Last but certainly not least, my miniature iris have come into bloom. Only somehow, one of them isn’t mini. It seems some pruning is in order later this year.

Indoor Forest
You can’t turn your back for a minute. My cats will chew up house plants if I give them the chance. That’s why I keep bird netting over my sprouting station. Well, I left the net up just long enough to take my tomatoes out for hardening off, and what do you think happened? All the leaves were eaten off one side of my lucky bamboo. Sigh…

I’ve installed the bird feeder I was given for my birthday, and filled it with a wild finch blend. My goal is to attract native house finches and goldfinches. It’s hanging in the Stella cherry tree, where I can see it while doing my yoga. My husband said I may regret that if it turns out the finches like cherries. Usually it’s the robins that get into my cherries, though.

Until next week, keep digging in the dirt!


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