Spring in the Garden

Bee on daikon radish blossom

Spring has flown by once again and summer is already starting to sizzle. Join us for our spring 2022 recap, with a seasonal update and other spring news from the Green in Real Life family.

Deep Freeze

The spring garden was awash with blossoms and flush with tender green growth when a late great frost hit. The deep freeze was the coldest air temperature we’ve seen in our current garden. The frost and chill combine with tender spring blossoms, buds, leaves, and shoots caused major damage. Fortunately, most of the major landscaping plants seem to have recovered. We won’t have many fruit this year due to blossom and fruitlet loss on many of the trees, but such is life in the garden. At least the bees got to enjoy them. There are a few plums and pears growing, but most trees are leaf-only.

As irony would have it, the only tree with a few plum remaining has been claimed by a wily bird as nesting territory. I think the nest will be vacant before the plums ripen, but netting is out. Individual bagging of a few plums not near the nest could work, too. The birds usually pillage the plums and cherries, so it will be extra slim pickings this season. Not that they ever want to share any with us. Ha!

Bird's nest in plum tree

Spring Garden Firsts

As our garden matures and settles in, it’s great to see some of the slower growers maturing towards bearing. Hopefully! The young avocados were finally blooming right when the cold hit. This photo below was taken shortly before the freeze. The trees suffered heavy tip burns, and most flowers were lost. To my surprise, there are a few little avocados are forming from the survivors! I’m not sure if the young trees will keep them, but time will tell. We also had pollen structures on the pinenut tree for the first time, but I haven’t seen any conelets. Perhaps somewhere unseen, perhaps not this year.

Avocade blossoms on tree close up

The pomegranate flowering isn’t a first, but we moved it from a pot to a raised bed during the winter. This is it’s first spring in it’s new home and it’s looking really happy! Fingers crossed for great fruit!

Pomegranate flower buds on tree

The Veggie Patch

It wasn’t our best winter in the veggie patch, but it was still productive. Root vegetables like carrot and beetroot did great this year once they finally started to fatten up. Onions were hit and miss, with some deciding to bolt instead of bulb. I decided to just let them go. The bees love their flower balls, and I’ll save their seeds for replanting. Happy bees and free seeds? Not so bad really.

The slow above ground flop crops from our winter garden update did finally head up in late spring. Not so handy on the carefully staggered planting though as they all headed and matured rapidly at once. In more exciting news, the experimental winter glasshouse tomatoes did ripen. Yay! They’re actually still going strong now, although looking a little straggly. The earliest of the new outdoor plants are almost ready for first picking. The potatoes were pretty good too. The kumara haven’t yet been pulled, so we’ve yet to see the final results of the experiment there.

Glasshouse Seedings for Spring

Luckily, I’d not yet transplanted the seedings from the glasshouse into the garden when the frost hit.  I’d actually been planning to shift the first ones out the weekend just a few days before, but heard on the radio that an unusual weather pattern might be coming and decided to wait. Lucky! 

Germination this year was a mixed result. Some seeds were very happy, and others seemed a bit cranky. The glasshouse isn’t heated, so we’re sheltered but still at the whims of the weather. Perhaps they were displeased with the swings in temperature. And there were some uninvited insect guests to contend with too. More lessons and things to tweak or try differently for our next round of planting.

All but the final few seedlings have been transplanted out into the main garden raised beds, post, and planters. Some of the heat-lovers, like the chilis, were a little slow starting and are still in transition. The glasshouse gets very hot in summer, and only the dragon fruit cacti are permanent residents.

Pumpkin seeds germinating

Neighbourhood Tui

It wouldn’t be a spring garden recap without a mention of the tui. They still haven’t ventured into our garden, but the neighbourhood is full of them when the kowhai flower. We have a few small kowhai growing out front, so perhaps as they mature they’ll come visit for a snack and a song. Until then, I’ll have to settle for enjoying them as I stroll. 

Tui bird in yellow kowhai tree

Our Furfamily

And on the subject of strolling through the neighbourhood, I’m usually with Humphrey. The tuis don’t seem to mind him either. He’s doing great and has been enjoying lots of spring strolls and playdates with neighbourhood furfriends. And those furfriends have been helping with quality control sampling in the garden during visits. Haha! Carrots are a favourite for all, and we had a great little crop from the garden over the winter and into spring. They’ve also snaffled pretty much every ripe strawberry so far, cheeky rascals! Oli’s berry-loving legacy lives in in Humphrey and his pals. 

Looking Ahead

The spring transplants and direct sowing has taken off, with the exception of our watermelons which are lagging a little. Hopefully they perk up and put on some rapid growth now that the temperatures are climbing. The summer garden fruits and veggies are my favourites, so fingers crossed for a good season!  Drop by our Instagram to check in on how things are growing in the months ahead, and I hope to see you again here on the blog sometime soon.

Merry (almost) Christmas to those of you who will be celebrating the coming holidays. Dig around our blog archives for holiday posts, including our lower waste holiday ideas and lower waste gift wrapping.  Season’s greetings and best wishes to all for the new year ahead!

Green in Real Life Spring 2022 garden update

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