Laurel’s Garden: Doves are Cooing

Laurel’s Garden
March 2016

We have been enjoying our delightful weather with daily highs in the afternoons of 70s or low 80s and morning temperatures in the 50s or 60s. Most days the sun is out and it is gorgeous outside. The occasional rain makes this perfect weather for growing many vegetables, both for the plants and gardeners.
We had a good winter with no hard frosts. Each year we get predictions of colder winters, deeper frosts and more hurricanes. Fortunately, they rarely come true. Even so, our backyard and the vegetable garden are well protected against Northern Arctic winds. As you probably know, the Arctic Circle has a rotating weather system of dips of very cold weather which occasionally extend into the all the way down to the Gulf Coast.
When we eat, we look out at our beautiful spreading oak tree. It is now shedding leaves, as I’m sure some of the trees at your home are. Isn’t it funny that live oak trees have a “fall” in spring? The warm weather is nice, but we all know that a long hot summer is soon to follow.
We have a few doves and a small yellow bird I haven’t been able to identify because it flits about so fast at our feeders. I began hearing the calls of the morning doves last month. So strange to hear the cooing in February. I always associate their noises with summer.
With this gorgeous weather and occasional rain plus my attentive gardener Linda, the veggie garden looks pretty good. The greens are deep green and thick. But quite a few winter greens have bolted already–bok choy, broccoli, Tendergreen Mustard. Tuscan Kale and lettuces are in a high production and looking very happy. We are also harvesting Oregon Snow & Sugar Ann Snap Peas. Lots and lots of peas.
Winter & perennial herbs and edible flowers also look very good. They too are lush and thriving in the sunshine in cooler weather. Sage, cilantro, chocolate mint, sorrel, fennel and more are ready for use just outside my back door. Nasturtiums, calendula and violas are blooming and spilling out of pots on the patio. The Thai basil hung in there all winter as well. While its foliage isn’t lush, it has provided purple flowers to feed pollinators and beautify the garden all winter long.
The new tomato plants have blossoms. We have one heirloom determinate tomato that is supposed to be prolific and early. It’s called Mister Stripey. But it’s the Juliet Grape hybrid that is already fruiting.
A variety of pepper, eggplant, cucumber and squash seeds have been started. We will have to choose which to place in the small garden. You want to plant your squash family plants now, to beat the vine borers and other pests.

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