Thursday, May 15, 2014

Late Start

Gardens across Chicago are off to a late start because of the rough winter and cold spring.  Ginkgo is in the same boat.  By now the garden should have 5-6 inch pea sprouts, should be harvesting radishes, should be ready for transplants this weekend, and every bed should be seeded.  Instead, we have just a few rows of radishes, potato and sweet potato starts, and the start of a lettuce crop.  We will be transplanting this weekend, but our crops will be chilly.  We have some major catching up to do and we can use every hand that we can get to transplant and seed beds.

One thing that this spring has offered plenty of is water.  Unfortunately, we didn't get our rain barrels up as early as we should have because there was a constant threat of frost, so all of that rain water was inaccessible to us.  When we did get them in place, we learned that most of them couldn't hold water because they had been damaged during the winter despite our efforts to protect them.  By the time we got them all patched up, the city water had already been connected (as shown in the buffalo box above).  Without water it was hard to begin seeding.
Despite this, we seeded radishes with the little water we could get.  These gems are such a bright spot in the spring.  They really are the first proof that one can fill a plate with something toothsome by one's own hands.

The rhubarb takes care of itself although we could probably pamper it a little with some fresh compost and and a little division to let it multiply and get some better circulation. 

Right on time for the spring are the fruit blossoms.  The ornamental cherry blossoms have all dropped, succeeded by the apples, which are followed by Ginkgo's pears.  We had beautiful weather on Saturday and warm breezes carried the heady perfume of our white lilacs into the garden. 

The big show of course was the exhumation of our fig trees.  Normally, we would do this around Easter, but sudden random snow flurries through April made us nervous about taking them up too early.

The one so curiously shaped like a body, came up first.  Ginkgo's volunteers swiftly and with finesse to bring the tree back to the waking world.  The trees have new growth on them, which is a good sign, but we still have to wait and see how they coped with the stresses of our unusual procedure and the oppressive winter.