Garden Inventory: April 2011

April is a month for delayed gratification. Our minds and palates are eager for peas and carrots and spring onions and asparagus but the garden just isn’t there yet. At the same time, this month requires a huge amount of work, in the planting and tending and hardening off that will mean bounty in a few short months. 
In the past few weeks the classic signs of spring have really popped. The visual feast of blossoms is like nature’s apology for slim pickings in the garden, and there are beautiful things everywhere if I just pause long enough to enjoy them. The sprays of blossoms on the Asian Pears are just lovely, and the blueberries and bay laurel are almost ready to bloom.
There’s also a certain beauty in the normal work done around the garden at this time of year: a bed turned and loosened and made ready for a planting, a flat of seedlings waiting for a more permanent home.
April is a slow month from a harvesting perspective but a very busy month from a preparations and growing perspective. We have a few overwintered things in good-eatin’ condition, and a very few new season crops ready for the picking.
Greens old and new are always welcome. We eat our greens cooked or raw. The last of the overwintered mustard greens and kale were harvested in the first week of April. 
We got loads of kale sprouts too. Simply pan-seared or roasted at 475-degrees, these are fantastic, like broccoli on flavor steroids.

Overwintering sprouting purple broccoli is a bit more refined. The plants aren’t yielding as much as in past years but we will still get several stir-frys from them.

New season lettuces and spinach are already being harvested. Since the plants are still small we’re judicious about how much we harvest, but a handful of fresh lettuce leaves is very welcome at this time of year.

Alliums are everywhere! The overwintering leeks are still standing and good to eat, the chives are absolutely verdant, the several beds of garlic look great and the new season onion starts went in the ground a few weeks ago.

Starts of early brassicas have been transplanted out. Red and green cabbages, broccoli and new kales are all in the ground.

I’m already running out of room in my beds.
April holds her breath, just waiting for the productive days ahead, while we forge ahead, working as if our toil itself will pull the warmer, longer days to us.
How’s your garden doing? In the Pacific Northwest we are braving another cold, wet spring. Do you feel like your planting is where it should be? Can you see the signs of spring?


  1. says

    I'm procrastinating checking on my surely overgrown seedlings under lights, knowing I have little to do for them now until the weather improves. I'm checking the garden for growth which has come to a standstill for my greens and brassicas, I'm holding off as long as possible harvesting the last of my carrots, not sure they'll be worth eating at the point. I just don't want to know if they're not. And I'm wondering if the seeds I've planted a week or so ago have sprouted, or are they weeds popping up? Time will hopefully tell. I too am running out of room, though I'm running out of things to plant there too. I think I'll be ok.

  2. says

    Um, delayed gratification may be in your cards, but down south of you, I've been eating asparagus, spring onions, and mature lettuce almost every day from a nearby organic farm. Arizona may be dry and hot but we are able to harvest year-round!

    In our own garden, though, there's not much to harvest yet because we're not as organized and established as the folks who do it for a living.

  3. says

    I'm in the Kansas City area; from seeds/sets I've planted onions, garlic, lettuces, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, beets, turnips, carrots, snap peas, snow peas, potatoes, pole beans, runner beans, and radishes. All but the carrots have made their initial appearances.

    From seedlings/saplings I've planted cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, broccoli, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. All are doing fine so far.

    Returning perennials are only one of three rhubarb we planted last year and 8 of 9 asparagus. I've been eating asparagus daily for about a week.

  4. says

    I don't dare put things in the ground that are frost tender. I'm in southern Oregon and we wait until Mother's day for sanity sake. Been burned (pun intended! too many years when I get antsy!) I see in your last photo wires along the fence. Are those for peas, or beans or some other veggie or floral? Do tell.

  5. says

    Jill – yes, my cloches and I get very comfortable this time of year as I struggle to eek another 3-4 weeks out of our short season. I gamble, but I do it with polytunnel backup! ;) The wires are a hanging support system for some espaliered European pears we put in this spring. I'll include a better picture of them as part of my Backyard Orchard Culture update, a post I've been meaning to do for a few weeks. Thanks for asking!

  6. says

    Well, right up until this morning I was feeling a bit inadequate with my few rows of planted seeds and 2 inch high peas. This morning I have 3 inches of snow, so I'm back to feeling lucky there were only a few plants in to loose. Such is gardening I guess. At least the spring garlic that went in late now got some cold!!

  7. says

    Boston: A house and garden reclaimed from a bank (foreclosure) and years of neglect, now in its third growing season. Parsley and chives greeted us in March — such delight! Now we are eating dandelions, building a chicken coop, and watching those radishes and greens come up–trying to resist picking them. April…

    JP Green House

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