David Hinks

by David Hinks

Finally the snow is receding and revealing gardens that have been hidden for many, many months. Snow is a valuable protection to all perennial plants and for many soils its accumulation and gradual thawing help improve the physical texture of the soil. I am very mindful that spring is not far off and that we can probably expect a very short spring this year as we leap from winter to summer so I am trying to do as much cleanup as I can as gardens are exposed. But I am limiting that to areas that I can reach from walkways or pathways. The gardens are still far too wet to walk on – the soil structure can be very adversely affected when it is compacted at this stage

There has been a lot of activity going on under the snow. The following photo shows daffodil sprouts that are yellow as the snow has kept them from being exposed to the light.

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Herbs have benefited greatly from the stable covering of snow. Parsley makes it through the winter quite happily. Parsley is a biennial which means that you should enjoy the leaves while you can as it will shortly be producing a flower stalk and will stop producing edible leaves. The sorrel (Bloody Dock) is looking quite prehistoric as it emerges from the snow – clearly it was not prepared to wait until all the snow was gone before it started growing.

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The thyme has also survived the winter quite happily – the snow has done a perfect job of protecting it from the cold drying winds of winter.

IMG_0875 The geraniums that were starting to bloom – I have pinched off the flowers as I believe that they should not be putting their energy into blooming at this stage. The flowers will be serving as a cut flower bouquet.

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The soil in the little micro-climate next to my shed is still far from ready for me to plant peas. The snow has been gone for a week or more but an exploratory jab with a round-nosed shovel revealed that the ground is still frozen below the first couple of inches of wet soil.

IMG_0876Plans for the gardening season with the Neighbourhood Tomato will be discussed at a meeting of all ‘tomato-heads’ this Wednesday April 9 at 2pm at the Mills Community Support Boardroom on Industrial Drive in Almonte. Come and help develop plans for activities that so far include:

  •  Saturday April 12 – 9 to 11am – A seeding and transplanting workshop at the greenhouse/workshop of one of our members – I am planting seeds of vegetables such as broccoli and tomatoes in five-inch pots so that they will be ready to transplant into individual pots on April 12 – more details will be available on Wednesday.
  •  May 8 & 9 – the ‘Big Dig’ at Augusta Park – we will be creating a much enlarged allotment garden and new collaborative community garden in Augusta Park – please let me know if you are able to participate (hinks.david@rogers.com)- we will be at the park from 8am to dark. We need people with shovels, hammers and enthusiasm to strip sod, make raised beds, and build a fence, shed and composters. Please let me know if you have any leads on possible donations of lumber, fencing, compost or top soil.
  •  May 15 & every Thursday evening through the growing season 6:30 to 8:30 pm. join us at Augusta Park for a collaborative community gardening session as we share our knowledge, mentor new gardeners, weed our new garden and share some fellowship.

It is not too late to order your rain barrel! They are being sold in conjunction with the sale of trees by the Chamber of Commerce. We are still accepting pre-sale orders for a Fundraising Truckload Rain Barrel Sale scheduled for SATURDAY, APRIL 26 at the Town of Mississippi Mills Municipal Garage, 3131 Old Perth Road, Almonte, ON from 9am to noon. Rain barrels are being sold for $55 each or two for $110. All orders must be placed online in advance at www.RainBarrel.ca/tomato or by calling Deanna at 613-256-7535 or e-mailing deannabarry@storm.ca