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  • Writer's picturekaydee777

Signs of spring

A cold front is blowing by right now. Last night's blustery weather system brought a welcome 0.25 inches of rain to the garden. The roof leak drip buckets were in place so I could lie in bed enjoying the sound of water gurgling into gutters and down rain chains into barrels.

Though chilly this morning, while the sun is briefly out, I tour the garden noting a myriad signs of spring. Fava beans, planted last autumn, are bursting with flowers. I trust they know what they are doing and that there will be pollinators this early.

Fava bean flowers are so beautiful. How can a pollinator resist?

Self sown cilantro which has been hunkered down, barely there, is suddenly thriving everywhere I look, even in places I still intend to dig over before planting potatoes. I'm good for fresh garnish and flavour for a bit, it seems, though my ultimate goal is to harvest coriander seeds which I use a lot in everyday cooking in my own kitchen, and the spices mixes for market.

Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are breaking dormancy this week with lovely fresh green growth. More delicious garnish and flavour for soups and salads soon from these. Yum.

Dutch Iris (Iris hollandica), always the first spring bloom in this garden, are showing strong growth, perhaps enjoying their feeding of manure and mulch last month. No signs of blooms yet, though. One of these years I'm going to have to thin them. Although they don't bloom for long, I do look forward to their exquisite mass of blue each spring here at the cottonwood drip line.

Out front, Oregon Sugar Snap peas, planted really early on impulse late January, are germinating strongly. Go, peas, go!

Planting peas around last frost date according to most given planting calendars for this zone, has them producing just as temperatures heat up, making for tough bitter harvests. I thought to experiment with early sowing to see if I could get tender sweet sugar snap pods. It might be that the desert is better suited to dried beans, but I had the seed packs and the vacant garden real estate.

Garlic, both Nootke Rose and Inchelium Red, is thriving too.

There's still a marked difference between the different sowings a month apart. I wonder if the second bed of Inchelium Red, which was sown from smaller cloves of market leftovers anyway, will ever catch up?

The two survivor Georgia collards from spring of 2023, are also doing exceptionally well.

The cold has made them sweet and these almost shrubs are giving me regular harvests of leafy greens which I'm mostly savouring raw. I'm impressed at their tenacity and resilience. They beat that extreme triple digit heat of Summer of '23, shrugged off cabbage moths and came back to deliver winter deliciousness.

In spite of all these signs of spring it's a pretty wintery outlook today. The sun is struggling to hold its own amidst skudding clouds and chill wind this morning. Turtleback Mountain has seen it all.

Mr American Robin is back (did he ever leave?) flashing that copper chest everywhere I look. He certainly thinks it's spring.


Incidentally, Pyracantha berries seem to be an important winter food source for a number of birds - a reason not to prune it too drastically and to encourage blooming and fruiting.

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