Somehow, the month of March completely slipped through my fingers. The past month has been a big blur of baby milestones, holiday celebrations, and some pretty big (potentially life- and garden-altering) decisions, and it all happened in the blink of an eye. One minute there was snow on the ground, the next minute it was 60 degrees and there are green things popping up all over the garden.
I figure there is no better way to jump back into things than to share a few updates of how spring is progressing in the garden:
In the corner of the yard where most of the fruit grows, the raspberry canes and strawberry crowns are coming back to life. My June bearing strawberries appear to have taken a bit of a hit this winter, which is a little curious in itself, as it was a pretty mild winter by Minnesota standards. There is usually a fair amount of foliage that overwinters, but this year the strawberry patch is looking quite bare. It looks like most of the crowns are coming back to life, so I am hopeful that not all is lost and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it does not impact berry production. On the bright side, this will make rooting out all the grass that inevitably creeps into the patch a little easier this spring (note to self: building a raised bed for the strawberries would be a great idea).
And of course the rhubarb is growing like crazy! I am planning to divide the largest of my five plants this week. It is a little ahead of schedule (it has only been three years), but I want to get some of the plants on a staggered schedule so I don’t run into the situation where all the rhubarb needs to be divided at the same time again. This one has grown quite a lot in the last three years and the center is getting a little crowded, making it a perfect candidate for this purpose.
I had good success at overwintering a number of herbs this year. The oregano is usually pretty reliable in this regard and stayed nice and green under a layer of leaves and snow, and of course the mint is coming right back to life, albeit a significantly cut back from last year to control its spread, but there were a few surprises from some herbs that are a little less hardy. One of my sage plants survived and I had mixed success with my lavender and rosemary. Both survived most of the winter, but once we lost the insulation from the snow cover, the rosemary quickly faded. The lavender almost had the same fate, but the tips are still green, so it looks like they might make a comeback.
My newly re-planted horseradish root is off to a great start as well. I moved it back to the more shaded corner of the garden this year, since it has proved to be a pretty tenacious plant. Once the lavender has had a chance to recover, I plan to move it up into the more coveted sunny spot where the horseradish has been the last few years.
I am excited to see some of last year’s new perennial flowers start to pop up! The yarrow is sending up feathery shoots and the echinacea is so stunning as it makes its appearance – no sign of the butterfly weed yet, but I am keeping a hopeful eye out. The slugs really did a number on it last year, so I have a few new seedlings under the lights as back up, just in case.
It is still too early to see how the self-sowing annuals did last fall, but I love that this lone bachelor button has survived not one, but two Minnesota winters.
After planting over 100 crocus bulbs last fall, I was seriously discouraged to find that the squirrels had scavenged a majority of the bulbs over the winter. They were even digging them up as they started to grow in the last few weeks! Fortunately, they didn’t get them all, so at least there are a handful of little green leaves poking up, and as of Sunday, at least a couple of bright, cheerful flowers.
How is spring progressing in your garden?