Garden Snapshot, March 9, 2015
The first sunny, warm-ish day - and the honeybees came out! Yesterday was their first day out of the hive this spring, which means they all take a "cleansing flight". They take a brief flight out of the hive, and leave the snow speckled with bee manure - their first washroom trip since they started their winter dormancy.
We're happy that they survived the winter, but the next 2 months are actually the most difficult months of the year for honeybees with the sometimes wildly-fluctuating spring temperatures.
Another great sign of spring: the pussy willows are just starting to bud! With the sunny warm weather that is in the forecast for this week, they will be out in their full fuzzy glory in a few days.
Things are really warming up in the greenhouse. We started the heating system yesterday, and will put the first trays of seedlings in there tomorrow. We kept the greenhouse closed up today, and the maximum temperature was beyond the range of the thermometer! That's definitely too hot for plants, so we will be opening the doors to ventilate it during the day once the plants go in.
The outside of the greenhouse is still mounded up with 3+ feet of snow. In some ways, that is good... the best insulation. That board that is just visible in the bottom left of the photo below is the 3-foot mark on the side of the greenhouse.
The gardens have anywhere from 2 - 4 feet of snow on them. Below is a bed of Spanish onions planted in the fall under a row of hoops. As soon as the snow has mostly melted, a sheet of plastic will be stretched over these hoops, and it will be a mini-greenhouse to protect the onions from extreme spring temperatures. This gives them an extra-early start (since they got established in the fall), and will yield earlier and larger Spanish onions than what we will get from the Spring-planted onions.
Some of the spring-planted onions have been started already, but the main crop of onions and leeks will be planted today (March 9). Below is a tray of chives, and onion seeds at the bottom of the photo. The seeds and young plants of chives, leeks, onions, shallots, and scallions all look pretty much the same, but turn out so differently when they mature.
Everything planted so far is doing great. All the extra-early tomato plants are really sizing up. They are on track to go into the greenhouse soil in a few weeks, which means delicious, local, garden-fresh tomatoes in June!
And that is a snapshot of the current happenings here!