Spring Blooms in Broadview

Sunday, March 20th, was the equinox and first official day of spring, but today we really felt it. The signs were everywhere: blue skies, sun and shadows! The temperature is nearly 60 degrees. Bugs and bird song abound, cats curled up in sunny spots and the dog rolling in the grass. I see the welcome blooms of daffodils, primroses, hellebores pieris, viburnums and especially, the heady scent of Daphne by the front door.

Ah, spring, beckoning us outside again after weeks of gray and rain. Working in the front yard, pruning, turning the soil and weeding, I get a chance to socialize, catching up with the neighbors and kids on the block. My energy rises and I burst out in the usual ambitious ‘To Do’ lists of spring. Topping my list this week:
• Veggie garden: add the compost and chicken manure and turn the soil. The peas are planted but I want to get the hardy early season seeds and starts– lettuces, radishes, bok choy and onions– in the ground soon. I can harvest my winter greens and purple spouting broccoli is nearly ready! Best to wait till the soil is warm in May or early June to plant warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers, beans, basil and cucumbers.
• Chickens! We are joining the urban homestead movement and are getting 3 sweet chicks from another Broadview friend in a couple weeks. So, we need to get going on that chicken coop and fencing this weekend. A Google search leads to hundreds of inspiring chicken coop examples and plans online. We need to find one we can adapt to fit our space, budget and carpentry skills.
• Roses: prune back the dead tips, remove the crossing branches, careful to leave the cuts clean with the next growing bud facing in the direction you want it to grow.
• Fill in the bare spots: the early November freeze killed a few plants, making way for bare ground I can fill with new garden favorites. I’ve got new dahlias, heathers, fancy heucheras, carex and primroses to pop in the ground and spring pots to fill.
• Share and mentor: a call to gardeners to make an effort to meet with new gardening friends to share the garden knowledge and enthusiasm you’ve gleaned over the years. Saturday, my son stopped by with questions on compost and worm bins, and left with some raspberry starts to plant in his Fremont garden. This weekend we’ll visit friends with the new home and garden to offer advice and planning tips, then share a meal. Lots of other opportunities to share nearby, with the new Bitter Lake P-Patch garden going in and the Viewlands School design team interested in planning for school yard gardens too!
Heading outside to get my hands dirty . . . . .
Next posting: a report on sustainable practices we can adopt in our gardens.

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