Equinox – Spring 2020 (The Year Everyone’s Gardens Will Look Spectacular)

With COVID-19 making it’s way around the world, those of us with time and health are able to spend a whole lot of time in our gardens. Let’s hope the commercial greenhouses and nurseries (and everyone, for-that-matter) can survive this. 

I think it’s about time I wrote of our garden. It’s been a long time since I wrote “The Winterized Garden,” and a lot has changed. 

First, I took up a new hobby: Making beer. And then, (like I often do) I took it to the extreme. After this weekend I’ll have 4 different beers (5 gallons each) kegged and on tap in my garage. The only draw-back: the parties I had hoped to host in order to share the beer have all been cancelled or postponed. I guess if things get worse I can always trade beer for toilet paper!

(I made a beer with corn grown in my yard – and you can see where that led things…)

Second, despite some field-closures due to rain and snow I managed to keep fit and play soccer for the whole season. Unfortunetly, COVID hit with a league closure with two games to go in our drive for the title – such is life. And if you’re a Liverpool fan….well….I feel for you. 

I wasn’t the only one playing soccer. My daughter had her inaugural season playing for the same club as I…….well I guess “playing” is a stretch.

Abby soccer

(She actually played in her last two practice/games and had fun That was a relief, after a full season of her standing on a field wanting to go home.)

Oh, and our coffee plants produced berries. So, naturally, we made coffee.

We’ve been blessed with a stretch of good weather in the middle of March which has really got the garden started. The weather, generally, has been fair. And I don’t mean that as in “the sky is fair,” but as in “neither punishing or incredible.” We did have a “deep” freeze as we have had for 4 years in a row now. But this year it was both earlier and shorter and had less of an impact.


Thus, the peach and nectarines began blooming in early March. 

Shovelling snow
shovelling snow at the fire hall

If there has been any draw-back, it’s that it has been atypically dry….and windy:

Greenhouse fail

I bought a very cheep greenhouse on Amazon. It is so light, even packed with starting plug trays it tipped. This was a few weeks ago, and I have since recovered, but I was so upset and disappointed that I felt like the garden might just be sown with grains and left alone this year. Some plants were 10 weeks old at that point! Luckily, most recovered, and despite losing plant tags, and not always knowing what is what – I shouldn’t need to reseed too much. If anyone knows how to tell peppers apart before they fruit, please let me know. (Bell, jalapeño, birdseye, poblano) Hoping leaf-size will be sufficient.

A bit of rope and I think we have a solution:

Greenhouse tied

I have never mentioned our front yard, but it is heavily sloped with a large lawnin front of the house and untamed bush along the road side. The lawn is terrible. The south-facing aspect is punishing, even with daily watering (in ground irrigation). To me, grass is a waste of space – unless you will be playing on it. Because I put grass below the garden boxes I have decided to do something with the front. 

One way of helping the grass is to shade it a bit. So I thought, kill two birds with one stone, and plant an orchard – it no longer wastes the space and it may even help regulate the temperature and absorb some of the sun that seems so detrimental.

fruit trees

I planted two apples, two plums, a peach and a pear. Then along the driveway, three olives. (In the back are two more apples, two more pears, a cherry, nectarine, peach, lemon and two olives – all have been matched for cross-pollination). I will really have to baby them this year as they get rooted in such a dry and punishing spot. Eventually, I expect these trees to prosper. 

Perhaps I ought to write about Fruit tree pest control. (just did that)

I am also currently in the process of putting irrigation into half the established garden boxes – don’t do this. Try to get the plumbing in when you build the boxes….this is a terrible job. You could always plumb it on the outside of the box, but I did this and it seriously interferes with weed-whacking between the beds. So, do it right the first time.

digging sucks

There’s my update for you.

Oh, one more thing. Does anyone know what’s up with my rosemary? Cold damage? Pathogen? Many, but not all, tips have browned like this.

brown tips on rosemary 

Bye for now. 

james in firetruck


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