Usually, we have a good month of 50 degree F. temperatures, give or take 5 degrees and I can take some time to warm up the soil with plastic or an old window lying on one of the old frames we saved from when we tore down the old greenhouse, but literally we went in 10 days time from 40 odd degrees to over 50 degrees F.
Whiplash, I tell you. Whiplash.
Last weekend, I put in seeds for broccoli, kale, Chinese cabbage, spinach, chard, lettuces of various colors and kinds, and beets, watering the bed thoroughly before I did so. The winter was so dry and it’s been so warm that the soil was very dry, which makes it definitely tough on a seed to break through that outer coating and germinate. You definitely need a certain level of warmth for seeds (and 50 degrees F Is my minimum for putting in the seeds above), but you also need a certain level of moisture. Since it’s been so warm, I just covered the bed with a double layer of spun polyester to hold in a bit of warmth and moisture (I really had to do that because we’ve used that particular chunk of fabric so many times, there are, shall we say, a lot of rather large perforations). And several days after I’d put in the seeds, I watered it thoroughly again.
This afternoon, I went out and the magic has definitely started to happen – seeds UP! This is an activity which I started to do when I was in elementary school and it has never lost its charm. It’s like buried treasure every time. I always try to grow one new thing, just for the novelty. I’m not sure what that will be this year, since we have a ‘small person’ wandering around the place now and I intend to allow him to pull up whatever he wants on a daily basis for his lunch. A little dirt on the veggies never hurt anyone, I think, and there is nothing for a kid like pulling up a beet, radish or carrot.
When I was little I actually was never impressed with tomatoes or peppers; the plants were too big and the flowers were too small. But beans and peas..now there were pretty flowers that turned into something I loved to eat. And we won’t go into the whole ‘zucchini so big you could put a saddle on it and ride it away’.
Now, it’s not that I’m not interested in novelty items, seriously, but we only have 5 beds, 3 feet wide by 15 feet long, to grow in (the only spot we have to garden near the house unfortunately was where the contractor dumped all the basement fill, so these were literally carved out of the landscape by the DH with pick, shovel, leaves, compost, wood chips and manure), so we tend to grow a lot of things that work and that we like to eat. Sometimes they don’t work well – we haven’t had any luck to speak of with Brussels sprouts, though other members of the cabbage family grow really well for us. And the only method of growing peppers that works for us is to put them into grow bags or two-gallon water jugs on the black asphalt driveway in the sun. Certain things I will not bother with whatsoever, no matter how much whining gets applied, corn is one of them. And sometimes I just throw in the towel and go to our local farmers market and order up a bushel of tomatoes just in case.
What are you guys doing in the garden this year? (Oh, and btw, between the mild winter and the horrible acorn crop which crashed the populations of white footed mice in the Northeast, we’ve got one heck of a deer tick issue this spring.)