Spring in Wisconsin: Gardening!

Maple sugaring season is over, and I just picked my first fresh salad ingredients from the garden today. I have my raised beds of greens planted (along with a few sugar snap peas), but it will be four or more weeks before I start harvesting them.  It has been pretty brisk lately with snow (which has all melted again as snow will at this time of year), strong winds, and icy rains.

All the plants that I have pictured are edible after a freeze as long as you allow them to defrost before you pick them. I have mache (also known as corn salad) reseeding every Spring. The rosettes of  mache that I picked today germinated from seed dropped last summer, overwintered, and began growing again as soon as the soil warmed a bit. More will germinate as the weather warms.

The green onions are what we call Egyptian onions  and are meant to be cut in the early spring. The plants become woody as the year progresses. They produce sets at their tips, and when the plant bends to the ground under their weight, they take hold where ever they touch earth. Some people harvest these sets to create onion-flavored vinegar.

I also waded into my herb border and cut some fresh chives and sour sorrel. Nothing flavors and tops off a salad like chives. The smell means spring to me.

The sorrel was just coming up, and I noticed that I have a handful of new starts coming from seed. I will continue to experiment in the herb border this season to make it more and more self-sustaining. I like plants that reseed so I don’t have to. I guess I am just getting lazy in my old age! Begonia

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6 Responses to Spring in Wisconsin: Gardening!

  1. kittyperson says:

    Your post surely proves that Spring is here! I am inspired by your Egyptian onions!

  2. Milking tree season is over? Not for me it isn’t.
    Whenever I want to enjoy something REALLY natural, unspoiled, and simple, I like to go into the woods and spiel a birch tree to drink the sap. Right up till just before fall.

    Meanwhile the onions and garlic are growing well.
    Soon it will be runner beans and tomatoes.
    Potatoes as and when.
    I have no rules, no dates to work to, and the garden is always lenient with me and generous.
    All it asks for is time to rest and in winter it gets a lot of care.

    • That’s interesting about the birch sap. I’ve never tapped my birches, but I know that the Native Americans in this part of the United States did. The reason you don’t drink maple sap all year is that it gets cloudy and off tasting late in the season. Plus it doesn’t run when the temps aren’t within a certain range. You can hang a bucket on the tree, and if it isn’t over 40 during the day and below freezing at night–that bucket just doesn’t fill! And then there are the ants and flies. . . .

      Our frost date here is the third week of May, so I am just about to start my tomatoes, basil, okra, peppers, parsley, and cutting celery indoors. Lots of people plant indoors sooner, but I guess I like to break the “rules” a little, too!

      I like it that we have winter here as well. It gives me and the ground a break. Are you doing any composting? What do you do for your garden during the winter? I do most of my soil building in the spring and fall with compost and chicken manure on my heavy feeders (in the fall) and the mulch feeds all summer. Winter is so frozen and snow locked here that I mostly just look out the window! LOL

      Glad to hear that you are gardening. Take care, Begonia

      • Winter starts when the tomatoes, beans, and onions end. They then get cut off flush to the soil to allow the roots to die in situ and the stems and leaves get crushed and dug in. After that I feed the soil with grass cuttings and a 20 liter bag of peat compost. No chemicals. Don’t like them.

        As for sap? I used to stop when it lost its taste and that’s usually into the fall just as the leaves brown. But I’m not talking buckets. Just a few sharpened stainless steel or copper sharpened pieces of pipe pushed into a hand augered hole. On each pipe is a ‘soda can’ sized plastic bag secured by rubber bands to keep things clean and bug free. To me it’s just a drink of goodness not a commercial grade operation.

        Plus, although nature provides, I’m not keen on ‘flavoring’ of the bug variety.

        This year, and for the first time ever, I’m going to be moving away from traditional gardening to raised beds and pot veg. Got to think about old damaged joints so a 5 bed system is being adopted. 3 active, 1 deep grassed and heavily composted, and the last one will just rest for a year doing it’s own thing and I’ll let the worms do the heavy work.

        The experiment is running with the onions and they are LOVING IT!

        Fruit bushes are now in huge pots and are doing OK as well.

        It kinda feels like I’m cheating but needs must. Forward planning and the cost of water.

        As for cold? minus 20C isn’t unknown because of wind chill but living so close to the sea that’s seldom an issue. The thing that kills a lot (and our purse) is the summer heat. Even then nature supplies and everything gets covered with ladybirds much to the unhappiness of white flies and others pests.

        Still onward and upwards, just as soon as I’ve had my morning mug of lemon tea.
        Gawd, I’m getting so domesticated!

        Happy days to you 🙂 😉
        Paul

      • Sounds great. You are getting domesticated! The sap from certain trees is very healthy with lots of trace minerals that the tree gathers. I’ll stick to sugaring in the spring though. (I have bugs because I use the old-style spiles. Most people who sugar now use that small pen-sized spiles and clear tubing to the gathering container.)
        The raised beds are a good idea for anyone. You can really control pH and other factors more easily. Our soil is really sweet because of the limestone rock on which our town is built, so the only reason I have blueberries is because they are planted in pots. I guess gardening is the one good thing that you can do at your new place that you couldn’t do when you lived on the boat.
        It was sure nice visiting with you. Take care.

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