A benefit of living in the upper Midwest USA is that on the west side of the Missouri River we have fairly temperate summers, usually lower humidity and temperatures do not often reach 100 F (38 C). We make up for it with a wide variability in the fall and spring. The average last killing frost is May 4, and the early average killing frost is September 12. Many years we experience spring time in March only to have a killing frost, or a 30 inch snow in the latter part of April. Likewise in the fall, we may have a killing frost in early September, followed by two months of gorgeous weather. Gardeners in South Dakota learn early to invest in tarps to cover their squash and tomatoes!
This spring has been more regular. The temperatures have very slowly risen, with a day or two of lovely spring like weather thrown in here and there, but nothing constant enough to cause us to do anything but clear out what we didn’t get to last fall, and to wait for a sunny day to apply some necessary weed control. DH and I are not proponents of herbicides, but we got a batch of manure that was full of noxious weed seeds; with thistles sporting three foot long roots in spite of me pulling them last year. They choke out grass and vegetables alike, so war must be declared! Therefore, we are applying a small amount of RoundUp, which is a contact only herbicide, followed by a layer of cardboard, and finally compost. I will use a paintbrush to deal with those that migrated into the iris patch, painting the individual plants I want to kill.
Because the temperatures have prevented applying weed control AND planting, we have been working around the edges, so to speak. That has included taking down the fence on the old squash patch and the east border fence on our original garden. We will set some larger posts in the corners and then redo the fence. The old squash patch will become tomatoes, and instead of cages we will run some cattle panels in a few rows. They provide a grid for the plants to climb on, but are much easier to store during the winter.
I am itching to get something planted, so time has moved slowly. We had snow last Tuesday, then cold and cloudy weather early this week, but only rain. We are now headed for a week or more of highs in the 60’s and 70’s , so I believe that spring has finally sprung!
Today has been lovely, so Max and even the citrus spent the day outside! Our lemon trees have survived the widnter, along with three grapefruit seedlings. Yesterday we started a pineapple, and today two avocados. Unfortunately, we haven’t hit upon any orange seeds yet, but we have two limes sitting out, and a mango in the fridge, waiting patiently. The success of the citrus has spurred DH on to attempt all the above. 😊
This afternoon I discovered that our sunflowers have started sprouting, so we have, at long last, the beginning this year’s garden! Tomorrow they will go outside permanently and we’ll transplant them into their permanent home in a week or two.
At last today the dirt people called, and our 4 tons 😱 of compost will arrive tomorrow, so the weekend will be spent doing a ton of work, literally! We visited the cardboard recycle bin this afternoon and picked up nearly a third of the cardboard we’ll need for this effort.