Thursday, April 14, 2011

A weather realted compromise!

Babies in the porch
It's cold and the weather man is calling for snow tomorrow night. Spring is such a struggle, old man winter doesn't want to let go and baby spring keeps pecking away at him! A quick look at the garden journal from 2010 shows the kind of weather that allowed the pepper starts to live outside each day with a trip into the porch for sleeping. This year the peppers are still in the newly expanded sprouting cave. A newly purchased portable greenhouse stands empty as the temperatures are too low at night to leave the tender babies out there at night. A check on the Farmer's Almanac indicates a cooler, wetter spring. What does it all mean?
The Growing Cave

Challenges for the home gardener, close watch of the weather and patience! Spring will come, and we will play outside in the dirt. Never fear, there are seeds that can be planted outside now, despite the chilly temperatures. For an early harvest plant the following cool loving crops: radish, lettuce, carrots, chard, beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale and onions. For those familiar with the walking onion, or Egyptian onion, you will notice how happy they are and the cool temperatures won't hurt them. Garlic sprouts should be happily shooting up now as well, if the cloves were planted in the fall, that is!

For some green therapy, check out your perennial herb garden. Even in Minnesota with the kind of winter we just lived through you should see some sprouts on the oregano, thyme, sage, hyssop, lambs quarters, wormwood and chives. I am constantly amazed in the spring when these little lovelies show up. Such tenacity!

What? Really, a leek!
A quick survey of the garden a couple of weeks ago yielded a few surprises! A garden bed that never got put away last fall (sheer laziness, no plan or thought behind leaving it!) contained a few leek and kale "bodies".  I tried to pull them out, thinking surely they didn't survive, but they were frozen solid into the dirt. Then of course I got busy with starting seeds and generally praying for some sunshine. Low and Behold...the leeks turned green and are very much alive. Huh. The allium family is hearty, but I never would have guessed they would survive! Looks like a bounty of leek seeds for this gardener this year!

So, never fear, the spring will come and the plants promise to amaze you! See you in "The Backyard"!