I took the photo above a few weeks ago--proof that heat mats make a big difference in Zone 4 seed starting. Last year, I struggled with a cold greenhouse and lack of family support for my seedlings; this year, with seed mats and no travels, I've never had such seedling luck: 34 thriving tomatoes, 8 hollyhocks, and 2 hot peppers. Yesterday, I added peas and basil to the program.
We've had a tricky spring. During Easter, temps rose into the 80s, which caused many plants to sprout prematurely. We've also already had a fair share of days in the 60s, so our apple farmers are on pins and needles, as they're planning for trees to bloom 2-3 weeks earlier than normal. And snow in May is not out of the question...
Of apples, I've sprayed my old tree with hort oil before the bloom. I've also rescued five trees from a friend's yard, where they were living in bog-like conditions. I think three of the trees will make it; one lost most of it's roots during the replant, and one seems like it's dead already. Nevertheless, they're now in a drier place with a little fertilizer and compost, so we'll see if they can pull through.
I mowed the backyard on April 24th. Early? I think so. It smelled nice, though.
I surprisingly saved two rose bushes through the winter. I usually grow roses as annuals in a couple pots flanking my garage. This year, I took the plants out of the pots and put them in the vegetable garden for the winter. Lo and behold, they're sprouting.
I noticed purple asparagus peeking through for the first time yesterday.
The garlic is already about 8 inches high.
Peonies and bleeding heart growing tall.
A vegetable garden full of weeds.
And during a hike yesterday along a river, trout lilies, purple trilium, and ferns unfurling.
This is what grows on April 26th, 2010, in my Zone 4.