The thermometer in the woodbin – under cover and without any influence from the spring sunshine – read 54 today. The Eagle Aboriculture crew dropped off three yards of bio-soil at the head of the driveway yesterday in the cold March rain, but it was warm and full of insect life this morning. I picked out red worms, pill bugs, and one large black beetle as big as my thumb in the first few shovel-loads.
The raised beds directly in front of the house were planted with tomatoes last year. Then Hurricane Irene rolled through mid-season and soon every garden on the island had Fusarium wilt and the plants turned black and died. I won’t be able to plant tomatoes there for a few years so today I put in Giant Winter spinach, Green Meat radishes, and salad greens. The garlic I planted last fall is sprouting and will come up between the seedlings as the weather warms. Had to go rooting around in the boat shed to find the hoses to water everything in and then find the Agribon floating row cover.
The heather is in full bloom and full of tiny native pollinators, but sadly, not my honeybees. Mice attacked one hive, and when I dislodged them they evidently invaded the other boxes as well. No old colonies this year but I have two new ones on the way from Bee Weaver in Navasota, TX this spring. I’ll buy some metal hive entrance guards too.
Sorrel is my first real harvest in any year, maybe just two weeks away if this mild weather holds.
The alpine poppies are coming right along too. They bloom early, perhaps the first pollen for the new bees in late April. I remember buying these from Thompson and Morgan. The catalog described them as “rare but hardy, shy and difficult to grow”. A decade later they have seeded themselves in every stony nook and cranny of the yard – I have to regularly coax them out of the driveway and the cheery orange blooms are under foot in every path. Hardy they may be, but not so rare around here.