March and April are the two months that force every gardener to roll up her sleeves and get to work
This year I have dedicated two large beds to strawberries
I have two varieties: Sequoia, which are big the big huge guys you usually get from the farmers market
Ever-bearing, which are not actually ever bearing but are supposed to yield at least 3 sets of fruit in Spring, Summer and then again in the Fall
The biggest issue I have had with berries is the birds....I guess they love them too!
So here is my solution for now; a little bamboo structure covered with netting to keep the birds out and let the bees in....so far so good
I used shredded redwood instead of plastic to protect the berries from slugs and mildew,
which is working out well
These plants are loaded with young strawberries and blossoms. I did heavily thin out all of the runners as the plants started to grow and that forces the mother plant to put all of her energy into the main plant and produce more fruit
March is the time of year that I usually heavily fertilize too. I use a product called Nitra King which is a 19-4-4 plus 2% iron. You can broadcast this on the grass and in your beds and it really give the garden a jump start.
The roses get sprayed for disease and are fertilized as well...pretty much continuously, at least once a month
The apple trees have all blossomed and have started to set their fruit. Surrounding this structured orchard is a grape fence planted with 18 vines in a variety of good edible grapes. Last year I didn't pay any attention to these plants and they were over taken with a mildew and never did bear any fruit....so this year I'm on it!
The Wisteria pergola is going to be a great spot to sit and the vines are starting to become a bit more established. I might get a few flowers but more than anything I am hoping for some vigorous vines to take over the structure
You can find tomatoes in most of the nurseries starting this month, so those are in already. I tried a couple of grafted heirlooms this year, which are supposed to yield a better tomato on a more vigorous main stalk....another experiment. I always put in an Early Girl too....she never disappoints us!
I sow in a lot of mesclun and little interesting lettuce varieties. But again, the crows are giving me challenges this year so I will have to cover this bed too. My husband bought a BB gun to scare the birds away, which sort of works.
My new nick name is Dead Eye Daisy....
All of the citrus trees in the valley are blooming right now and the smell is unreal....I like to stick my head in the middle of these blossoms and just inhale
We have 20 citrus trees in our orchard which are probably 30 to 40 years old and now have become great producers. Lots of compost and deep watering has really brought this grove back to life
Our big garden design project this summer will be the construction of a garden shed and a chicken coop in the open area across the bridge. I have lots of design ideas and will be using some vintage architectural fragments, galvanized metal, shingles and old windows and doors.
And we did get the deck finished....finally!
here is a peek
I will share some of the details on a future post
hope you are enjoying the first bit of spring too
lets go play in the dirt!