We'd almost forgotten what it felt like, but we finally had a nice weekend to get out into the garden! As we've mentioned before, we've gotten a good start on seedlings under the growlight, but we've hardly seen the outdoor garden beds since last fall. So today we headed out back to do a little maintenance and just generally see how things were going. And when we got there, we came upon a few surprises.
That's garlic, popping up through the leaf mulch we put down when we planted last October. We planted 25 garlic bulbs and have spotted 17 sprouts so far. Some of them are already showing a lot of growth, so we'll just have to keep an eye on them until July or so when they'll be ready for harvest.
Next we wandered over to the strawberry bed and cleared off the mulch of straw that allowed them to overwinter. Strawberries can handle a bit of a frost, so even if we get a cold snap they should be okay without the straw. Most of the plants from last year look pretty good, but we've also got some new growth like you can see in the picture. This should be where we get our fruit this summer, so it's encouraging to see it doing well already.
While we were clearing straw, we also removed some from around the rosemary (a futile attempt to keep it alive over the winter). And there, we got some even bigger surprises.
It seems our parsley self-seeded when we left it in the ground at the end of last season.
And so did the oregano...
And apparently the chives! This was kind of an accident, since we simply ran out of time to pull all the plants before the winter arrived. So several boxes still had their crops in them by the late fall, when they went to seed. Sometime this spring, it appears those seeds sprouted, and with no work at all on our part, we have a head start on our herb bed. This is about as natural a gardening process as you can have!
Much less of a surprise was this scene: rhubarb starting to poke up out of the ground. This garden is our first time growing rhubarb, but in our zone it's a notoriously robust and hardy plant. Still, it's always a thrill to see that the roots that lay dormant all winter long survived and are starting to send up new growth.
Similarly for this guy - the very start of an asparagus sprout. Our asparagus is a regular green variety, not one of the purple hybrids, but for some reason it's starting off purple. Our recollection is that it did this last year as well before it eventually turned green, so we're not too worried. Last year we had to let all of our asparagus grow out to ferns undisturbed so it was able to store enough energy to last the winter. This year we should be able to harvest for a few weeks before we let it fern out. That makes seeing the first few tips all the more exciting, knowing they should lead to a harvest.
Now it really feels like the gardening season is starting in earnest! Have you started any plants, or seen any overwintered sprouts? This has to be one of the best times of the year.