Garden Grandeur

Flowers are blooming and sprouts are up at Leafhopper Farm! The Gardenia was a little later this year, as it’s April and the shrub usually blooms in February. This year, the weather was very cold in winter, so the flowers waited full term, instead of bursting onto the scene early with our milder winters.


The Frost Peach has more blossoms this year after a good pruning over winter and wonderful warming sun this Spring. With luck, we’ll have a lot of juicy fruit from this tree in later Summer.


The red Rose is starting to look like a bush. After blooming into November, seeing all this new growth is very encouraging. I did not cut the cane over winter, and now there’s more leafing out on a seemingly happy stock. This rose bush is right in front of the porch, and offers heavenly scented flowers in late summer.


Those cold frame lettuces from over winter are still at it. I’ve had non-stop salad all winter and it’s still going strong! This red lettuce comes from LHF seeds, and I’m sure when they are allowed to bolt later this Summer, I’ll get another round of wonderful seed for next winter, making this my first completely viable organic salad seed from the farm.


Though the kitchen garden is resting this year from serious production, it’s still hosting some old kale plants, and the young native plant stock I bought from our local conservation organizations in early March. There are also some young onions and beautiful pink Tulips popping up, as well as white Trillium.


Our usual outdoor seeding date starts April 28th, but I’m betting the front garden we won’t get another heavy frost before then and have begun planting the veggies in eager anticipation of yummy fresh food through the summer. Everything from carrots to chard have gone in, and I’m so happy to be getting seeds in the ground.


This bed started with Rye and Kale last year. Some of the Kale stayed, but the rest of these seedlings are from a cover crop mix of forage plants like more Kale, Rye, and some Vetch. I put a huge layer of manure out in this space last Winter, and then covered it this spring with some top soil before planting the mix. I hope to encourage more in this space once the fertility of the bed is solid and I see good growth from the plants there now.


The greenhouse is hosting starts again this year, and the seedlings are sprouting with enthusiasm. I’m so happy that the structure was put back together by Mitch with a little duct tape and figuring on his part, because we can all now use this space to get our gardens started using the solar warmth, which is hot when the sun is out.


It is important to keep the little sprouts moist in the soil at all times, and I’m plant sitting for my tenants this week while they are in class on the east side of the state. This is a daily task to make sure the soil is wet and no slugs or voles get into the pots to eat the vulnerable crops. We’ve all put our pots up off the ground to deter predation. Keeping the young plants inside keeps them out of the hungy mouths of our local rabbits too. IMG_6705

This new bed of native plants is also leafing out with joy as the April showers bring May flowers in the coming month. The Service Berry is especially exciting, for it will bear blue fruit in late summer to go with our Blackberry, new Raspberries, and Blueberries all around. The Pacific Northwest is a berry paradise. I’ll never forget my first foraging trip, soon after arriving on the West Coast back in 2009. I had never seen so much fruit, and most of them native!


More tenant gardens are popping up at the farm. I’m so happy to see two new gardens and one continuing to produce food. A small kitchen garden is a perfect way to learn more about gardening and enjoy some simple good food that you grew yourself. Jason, (on the right above) had to refresh the bed off his porch and amend it with some rich compost. He’s a total beguinner at this art, and really excited about learning. He’s got Kale, Strawberries, Artichokes, Chives, Mint, and some of my LHF red lettuce in as starts, with many other seeds sewn for a fantastic first try at growing food.


Mitch threw his hat in the ring with an initial herb garden. He and his partner hope to break more sod around the tiny house for some great veggie plots to till away the Summer months and eat like royalty.

I’m so happy to see all this growth in only a few years. With everyone getting in on the production action, we’ll soon have more food than we ever dreamed at Leafhopper Farm. Personally, I’m a bit nervous because of travel plans this summer with family. Not that I’m complaining about fun trips with those I love, but since summer is high growing season, being absent will make full production on my end of thins less productive this year. I’m still planting none the less, and will enjoy seeing what makes it through the summer to harvest next fall.

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