Strawberries in flower and starting to berry need to be protected from birds. (Mary Lowther photo)

Strawberries in flower and starting to berry need to be protected from birds. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: With the sun comes gardening responsibilities

In another neglected bed, the strawberries are just beginning to flower

By Mary Lowther

Because I am not desperate enough (yet) to work in the rain and mud, the garden has been tending itself the past few weeks. I was able to pretend that moving house had a higher priority, but when the sun broke through the sky this morning I could hear the vegetables calling my name, and no wonder! The asparagus demanded picking, NOW, as did the parsley, kale and peas which, by the way, have rebounded from predation. This may possibly be due to the foul bug elixir I brewed and sprayed on the surviving shoots so, respecting Rule One,* I will continue the practice.

We also have our fill of spring turnips and greens so I’ve let the rest flower and, if it warms up soon, perhaps the bees will find them. I’ve only seen two bumble bees this year and fear it’s been too cold for many of them, which begs the question what turnip-flavoured honey would taste like. I bet there’s a good reason this kind of honey isn’t sold in grocery stores.

In another neglected bed, the strawberries are just beginning to flower, and will need protection from cute but ravenous little birds with gargantuan appetites. I’ll cover my strawberries with the cages David made last year, but this time I’ll shore the holes up with dirt, covering every last possible entrance because those tiny birds somehow squeeze down their wings and fluffy feathers to burrow through the tiniest gaps. Netting or Reemay also works for some gardeners, as long as it’s thoroughly battened down on the edges.

I sowed parsley last spring but it failed to put in an appearance. Neglect appears to have its reward, as I had not yet dug that bed out and, lo and behold, the parsley is making up for lost time! Usually it goes to seed in its second year, but perhaps this batch is a bit confused.

This spring has been colder and wetter than usual and parsley is not the only thing out of sorts in the garden; our mason bees have hatched and disappeared and none have returned to lay eggs in the bee house David diligently created. Our fruit trees, taking their cue from daylight hours, have been flowering in a belated attempt to attract pollinators long gone in search of sustenance, so I’ve gone over the blossoms four times with a soft brush in hopes that will pollinate some of them.

I tried to delegate this last to David, but he insisted that a former shop steward has to respect work jurisdiction, so I did it myself. Thus far neither birds nor bees have filed a grievance.

*According to my father, Rule One is “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

According to my mother, Rule Two is “Never forget Rule One.”

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

Columngardening

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