Friday, 13 April 2012

April Showers

by Sadge, at Firesign Farm
Looking down towards my garden, this photo taken today shows the form April Showers usually take around here. Getting a harvest from any of my fruit trees is always an iffy-proposition. A storm came through and nailed the apricot blossoms a few weeks ago; another one was just in time to get the plums. The flower buds on the peaches and cherries are ready to pop any day now - if this storm blows through quickly enough, maybe they'll make it.

Out in the garden however, as with the daffodils and herbs up close to the house, some things see this storm as welcome precipitation. The garlic and spinach planted last fall are up and putting on new growth; the onion plants set out a couple of weeks ago are starting to green up and settle in. And it's about time to direct-seed peas and lettuces. They might be a bit slow to germinate, but I need to get them into the ground soon in order to get a harvest before the high-desert summer heat gets here in June.

Inside the house, the warm season vegetable plants are up and growing under lights in the spare room. In our small two-bedroom house, this room serves many purposes. A six-foot folding banquet table is just the right size to fit across the four-poster guest double bed. Often used as a sewing table (my sewing machine is to the right of the photo), this time of year it's a planting table - the perfect spot for seeds planted but not up yet, wrapped in plastic to hold in the moisture (the really messy part, filling the pots with soil, is done at a potting table outside - a bin of my seed starting soil mix has been stored in the cellar so it's not frozen; I then bring the filled pots inside to seed and label). The upholstered bench that usually sits at the foot of the bed has been moved into our bedroom. In its place a pair of ladder-back chairs just fit between the bed and my desk.

 Did I mention, it's a very small house? It would be nice to have a dedicated seed-starting area (and I dream of a some-day greenhouse outside). But flexible space and using what you have is a major tenet of sustainable living. A plank, two shop lights, a couple of drapery rods, a light timer, reusable pots, six-packs and foil pans, plus the aforementioned ladder-back chairs, and this summer's garden is already started. Now I'll just sit back and wait on the weather.