I don't watch much television, but I have taken to watching a British gardening show called "Gardener's World" with Monty Don and friends. Monty takes you through some gardening tasks each week in his own gorgeous garden and various guests have their own segment featuring a special garden or gardener or a plant they love or a container they make that reminds them of a special vacation. It is one of those shows that I stop and rewind a bit so that I catch every single word. I have learned so much and traveled to some lovely gardens every Sunday when it comes out. Anyhow, each show ends with a segment called "Jobs for the Weekend" with some suggestions you could take on that coincide with the weather and season. It is my favorite part of the show and even though I have to close my ears about all the things they can do in the English climate, I would like to copy Monty with our Vermont version of "jobs for the week".
Week of April 23, 2018
This is the week to make those cheery spring containers for your porch or deck or side entrance. It will put a smile on your face every time you walk by. I am really into this combination right now. All the plants are cold hardy and can be outside even in a frost. Alyssum is a good plant for bees and other beneficial insects. And it makes a quick floral ground cover, so I use it quite a bit, especially in gardens that have a lot of bare earth under perennials or shrubs.
We are putting covers on our cold frames and caterpillar tunnels at the farm. Chad and Hank got two of the caterpillar tunnels done yesterday, and will finish the other two this week if the weather allows. And Claire, Sarah M. and Sophie covered the cold frames with thick thermal blankets. That is where we harden off plants to let them get used to the cold. This will provide us with some protected space for growing Mediterranean herbs for our cut culinary herb customers. In the vegetable garden, I am starting to work by hand or with rototiller the beds that are dry enough to work.
Onions, leeks, scallions, shallots and peas are the first things to go in the ground each year, and I plan to have them in before the end of the week. Make a trench about 4" deep, and as long as you like (I usually plant 4-5 onion or shallot plants per foot) and lay out individual plants. Fill in the trench, burying the onions about 3 to 4 inches as you go. Leeks need a little more space - about 6" between plants. Scallions and mini-onions can be planted in clumps of 10 or so plants 8" apart.
I am covering the chives with row cover to give them a little jump on the season for our herb farm customers.
Peas are going in a new spot between the long caterpillar tunnels where we can stretch netting over bows bent out of metal pipe using a pipe bender. You will have to come see this. I am very excited about it!
We are working on expanding our display gardens in the field beyond the greenhouses where the caterpillar tunnels were build this past fall. We hope you take a minute to walk around and see some of our plants growing and the methods we use.
On a more personal note, at home (a new house for us), I have raked out the bits of lawn we have, cleaned up some perennials I had not cut back in the fall (I leave them for the birds and hope you do that too), and raked out the vinca that is in many of the beds as a ground cover. We are taking on an ambitious make over in our own back yard, and I will keep you posted with that progress. So far, the excavator, Pat Minor (ask me for his number if you ever need that kind of thing-he's great) and the stone masons (Aaron and John from Champlain Landworks, fantastic wallers and landscape people) have come over to make a plan. And Sam Wyatt from Studio Roji has made us the prettiest conceptual plan and come over a few times to measure, lay out stakes and twine, and help us talk through details. It has all been such a fun process and he totally understands what we want in a garden - a private, cozy oasis. Putting in a garden that is well designed and thought through has been a (almost) life long dream and I am able to do it after years and years of plotting and sketching. My childhood graph paper designs of the "ideal homestead" have finally walked into the land of grown up action.
Please come by and visit - our staff is always able to help you make great choices for plants and seeds that are just right for the weather. It can be so confusing when we go from deep winter to deep summer in one day!