April in the garden

April in the garden with Marge

Happy April, folks!

Here I am in the veggie plot on a dreary spring day, showing off the new tunnel trellis we put up. I’m really digging how much vertical interest it gives the plot, and I can’t wait to see my luffa gourds and noodle beans scrambling up it.

If you can believe it, the veggie plot is now at least double the size it was last year — I’ve been hard at work! I’ll try to post a more complete picture later, because there are a couple raised beds and a teepee trellis off to the side that aren’t in the picture, and I’m just so pleased at how everything is coming together so nicely.

For comparison, this was the size of my plot last year, freshly tilled by our neighbor:

Archie the corgi next to the vegetable garden
Archie for scale

It didn’t take long for the grass to creep in again, which is probably no surprise to anyone. Grass is notoriously hard to get rid of, and I hate weeding — which is why I’ve been sheet mulching (cardboard + grass clippings + newspaper) and topping it with wood chips. Not only does it kill the grass, it builds healthy soil and is much easier than tilling up the ground. And any weeds that sprout in the chips are super easy to pull. Like, ridiculously easy. (If you’re looking for more information on this gardening method, check out Plant Abundance, Back to Eden Gardening, One Yard Revolution, and the Ruth Stout method.)

While mulching, I noticed my plot already has a small handful of volunteers, which I believe might be sunflowers! Only time will tell. The compost pile also has a handful of volunteers sprouting out the top after last week’s torrential rain, but I haven’t a clue what they are yet — could be anything from zucchini to cucumbers.

Second-year rhubarb patch

The rhubarb is up and has been growing rapidly thanks to all the rain we’ve had over the past few weeks. This is my second year with this plant — a clump of it was given to me by my dad last summer from his own rhubarb patch, which originally came from his dad’s rhubarb patch. I’m hoping I’ll get to harvest a little of it this year!

Makeshift climbing rose trellis

In flower garden news, the rose trellis is holding up well, and both Cecile Brunner and Raspberry Cream Twirl have settled into their new home quite nicely. Jordan had to trim some low-hanging limbs from our birch tree, and I thought they’d make a nice border for the bed, so it’s looking much more put together now (even though it’s still not quite finished). All the roses for the back yard garden have been planted as well, so now it’s time for — you guessed it — more mulching!

Potted dahlias

I potted up the dahlias a few weeks ago to give them a head start on growing (two have already come up!), and the new-tuber orders for 2019 have been slowly trickling in — so far I’ve had orders from Eden Brothers and Triple Wren Farms arrive. (I must admit I will not be ordering tubers from Eden Brothers again — the tubers arrived horribly shriveled and in hopeless clumps I didn’t even attempt dividing up.)

Spoils of the Portland Dahlia Society's annual tuber sale

And earlier in the week we attended the Portland Dahlia Society’s annual tuber sale! I picked up a few new beauties, as you can see. If you’re local to the Portland area, I highly suggest checking out the sale next year — most tubers are only $3, which is a great deal.

And, yes, I’m still trying to decide where my extensive dahlia garden will go this year.

What’s happening in your garden this month?

3 thoughts on “April in the garden

  1. Tyrannosaurus Fir April 18, 2019 / 1:27 pm

    In my garden, the perennial grasses I finally cut down last week (because I like to leave everything as long as possible through winter and into March so the birds have a smorgasbord of various stems, tassels and crisped leaves for fortifying their nest-building) are shooting skyward with new growth, already! Have found your essays over time in the WordPress Reader (the Pacific Northwest tags) and I felt compelled to leave a note about the flagpole trellis……ingenious and resourceful! It looks really cool. And if it ultimately succeeds like you’re hoping, maybe at some point you could stick some birdhouses on top. At any rate, thanks for making the planet greener and vegetableier!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Margo April 19, 2019 / 10:35 am

      Birdhouses—what a great idea! I will definitely keep that in mind! And what a great reminder about perennial grasses — I was just thinking I needed to trim ours, but I’ll wait a little longer for the birds. Thanks for reading! 🙂


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