What’s Happening in the Garden: April

They say April showers bring May flowers, but here at Sprout we like to say April showers bring fruit and veggies!   Now that we are about a month into Spring and the weather is warming up, our urban farm is starting to take shape.  Here’s what’s happening in the garden this month:
 
Our raised bed is our largest growing zone, and we’ll have up to 30 plants in this space this season.  For now, we have a just a few plants that have over-wintered:  garlic, spinach, and a few remnant carrots.  What you can’t see are all the seeds we’ve sown — we’ll expect sprouts within a couple weeks.
 

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See that fence?  It makes a perfect trellis, and we’ll be relying on it to support our vertical gardening this season.  Melons, cucumbers, and okra will be completely covering the fence by the end of summer.

 
This is what we call our “Salad Bowl Bed.”  We plant it early with cool season crops like endive, kale, spinach, arugula and several varieties of lettuce.  Leafy greens are very simple to grow — they require almost no maintenance, and they will provide our salads for the next few months.
 
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Our “Salad Bowl Bed” has six varieties of leafy greens, making for some delicious and healthy spring salads.

 
Last season we planted a grape vine, and it didn’t produce fruit (grape vines usually take 2-4 years before fruiting).  We haven’t had previous experience with grapes, so we were pleasantly surprised to see them leafing out this month after a long dormant winter.  We’re excited to see how they do this season.
 
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Grape vines lend themselves well to growing vertically along a trellis — perfect for maximizing our limited urban space!  
 
We are breaking one of our key farming rules (“Plant only what you love to eat.”) by sowing peas this year.  But we figured we should get some hands-on experience with peas, since some of our clients will be wanting to grow them.  This harvest will likely go into our donation basket — but that’s ok, neighbors love to receive freshly picked produce!
 
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Our first batch of peas greet the sun in our Camellia Bed.

 
One of my great joys is having my son working alongside me in our little farm.  To my delight, he loves participating, and he’s learning so much.  (The other day we were visiting a neighbor’s garden, and upon observing its condition, he whispered to me, “Mom, the plants need better soil.”  My heart swelled with farmerly pride.)  This season he’s got his own little raised bed, which he assembled and planted by himself.  I let him choose his own produce, and his variety beats the heck out of any combination I’ve ever planted:
 
hairos raised bed

My son chose to plant in his raised bed:  cherry tomatoes, asparagus, peach-scented geraniums, moss (!) and a random flowing plant. He has also planted catnip for our neighbor’s cat.

 
So our spring garden is off and running.  We’ll be sowing more seeds and seedlings every other week for the next couple months — this is called succession planting, and it will provide us with a harvest that will last through the fall.
 
Happy (urban) farming!

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