Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring activities in the garden and along the Mississippi

Lots has been going on. As always I'm either busy birding or gardening this time of year. Therefore I find little time to talk about what's happening. On the garden front, my seedlings for the first time ever, have aphids this year. I have sprayed several times with Safer insecticidal soap which I believe may have slightly damaged some of the seedlings. Kind of a bummer. My fault though. The aphids came in with house plants I had outside in pots over the summer and did not effectively spray when I brought them in this fall. Those little buggers were just waiting for the opportunity to explode in population and my seedlings provided the stimulus.

Despite the cold spring, I have started moving some of the seedlings outdoors into my greenhouse. I decided this year to cover the green house with 70% shade cloth to prevent the burning that occurs with hardening off my plants. So far so good. It's been too cold (30s and 40s) to keep the young tomatoes out in the green house. Those came in again this weekend.

This year I have been working on new cedar raised beds. Construction is almost complete. We spent Saturday in the rain trying to finish that project. I am also devising a better fencing system around the beds to keep the squirrels and rabbits out of the garden. As it is, the squirrel dug up most of the strawberry plants I planted within a day or so of planting. I have not done well with strawberries since moving here three years ago. Therefore I decided to dig up the old plants and start new. Time will tell.

On the native plant front, I spent Saturday birding along the Upper Mississippi and observing the spring plants that were blooming. Hepatica is blooming both in my garden and along the Mississippi in Grant County, WI. At Nelson Dewey State Park I saw the usual Pasque Flower, Hoary Puccoon and Bird's Foot Violet on the prairie trail. At Wyalusing State Park and along the Mississippi River Parkway, Bloodroot and Dutchmen's Breeches were starting to bloom. Here in Fort Atkinson, I've noticed my Bloodroot finally blooming after 3 years of waiting. More later with pictures of my garden progress.

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