Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Finally, Welcome Signs of Spring!

Storm #3 Denman Island ~ February 12th 2019
Most of Canada and the US had a rough 2018/19 winter and Denman Island was no exception. The fall brought high winds, broken trees, power outages and rain. By mid January we had high temperatures and spring like weather. Everyone was out pruning orchards, the daffodils hung heavy with buds ready to pop open... on Vancouver Island, Victoria was in bloom! I picked the 4 remaining large cabbage from my garden and made a big batch of Dill Pickle and Garlic Kraut. In the garden, garlic shoots were poking through the maple leaf mulch. We were even contemplating mowing the lawn ... in January!!
Storm #3 Denman Island ~ February 12th 2019
Too quickly all our 'BC weather boasting' went down the tubes as a polar vortex set in. By February 3rd we had a dusting of dry Alberta-style snow and cold winds whipped us from the north. Next came the storm systems, dumping snow in white-out conditions about every second day, to an accumulation of over 31 inches. The temperatures stayed cold and you want to bet I was not happy. I left Edmonton to get away from this kind of weather. We had snow and ice on the ground for almost 6 weeks. I can't remember in the past 29 years on Denman ever having snow on the ground for that long.
Yesterday we finally got the lawn mowed, there has been no rain to speak of for months. Most of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands were already in a state of drought in March! Last month I had to start watering the garden; garlic, strawberries and kale. With the temperatures now at daytime highs of up to 21C and lows still around 6C, if this crazy weather isn't climate change I don't know what is. I'm now seeing the damage from the cold. My rosemary plant has died, the strawberries are slowly growing, the garlic looks okay although much smaller than the April 2016 crop.
Garlic - April 2nd 2019

Seascape Strawberries - April 2nd 2019
Today, April 2nd 2019, I dressed the strawberries with my organic fertilizer mix, they seem to be struggling but some plants have blossoms starting. The garlic beds got a good helping of blood meal and I'm watering now every second day, waiting for rain!

Hardening off the seedlings
My seedlings are in desperate need of transplanting but with the warm days, they are on the deck to harden off a bit, then back into the sunroom for the cool nights. I put up my two little portable greenhouses on the weekend but it is still too cold at night to put anything in them. At least they are ready when the weather changes to warmer nights. I have started squash seeds early following my experiment last summer. 
Portable greenhouses

At the end of April 2018, I put out a 'Partenon Zucchini', a self pollinating variety, and a 'Sunshine Winter Squash', both from William Dam Seeds. Each plant was mulched, covered with a cloche, then straw around and covering about half of the cloche on the outside. It worked!! I was eating zucchini from my garden when others were just getting them into the ground. This year, I am going to experiment with early squash planting on a larger scale. 

I'm anxious to get out in the garden and get dirt under my fingernails ... horray for Spring, finally!
Until next time ... Happy Spring and Bon App├ętit!

Photos by Sally Rae

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