Sunday, March 15, 2009

Almost Spring

Today was another wonderful day outside. I found my first bloom of the season, a Johnny Jump Up and it was a warm, sunny day to work in the garden. I can't turn the soil over yet. The upper bed where my peas are going to go is still frozen. The middle bed is mostly frozen, but thawing nicely. The bottom bed is almost thawed, but it is still too wet to turn over yet.

So instead of turning over the soil. I dealt with trying to warm up the beds. The top bed was quick. I just threw down clear plastic flat on the earth and snow. Yes parts of it still have snow even after two weeks of melt out time. Sigh.

The bottom bed is going to be where the solanaceae family will be growing, ie my tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant and tomatillos. Most of the bed won't be needed for quite some time, but I'm going to grow carrots here and there during different parts of the growing season. So I measured out the bed. I measured four feet in to mark off the potato section, which will be the first of the solanaceae family to go in, but not yet. Then I measured off 2 1/2' for my pineapple tomatillos. They are supposed to be sprawling plants that get 3' across. I'll plant them a tad closer to the potatoes and hopefully they will be out before the tomatillos need the space.Next was the 40" space for my eggplants. The rest of the bed, about 13-14 feet, is for my non-potted tomatoes and peppers.

I had to measure it out because I want to start early carrots down the middle of where the tomatillos and eggplant will be. That middle area I wanted to heat up quickly so I can put carrots there as soon as possible. Carrots means digging the bed deeply. The soil has to be very workable. I have heavy clay and if I don't turn it over before planting, I don't get carrots. I put a clear plastic tunnel in. I'm going to use it to as a cold frame to harden off my onions and lettuce (they got their first taste of freedom today) and it will also warm up the soil and keep the rain off.

The middle bed was where all my over wintered plants were. Or mostly dead plants as the case may be. There are a few that survived the winter. The lettuce that I talked about earlier is looking worse than it did before, but two are still alive. If I get early lettuce, it has a better chance of coming from the seedlings that I'm hardening off.

I found three bunching onions. Little tiny things as they were quite young when winter hit. One tatsoi is announcing "Not dead yet!", but the reality is that it is on its last legs (pun always intended - really who couldn't use a bad pun in their lives?). Everything else is dead, dead, dead, but one surprise. It was the last thing I expected to over winter. It was my Chinese cabbage.

Chinese cabbage is hardy? Whodda thunk it? It may go the way of the over wintered lettuce and die as its roots thaw out. Or not. Time will tell. However I took all the plastic off the beds. It is in the high 50s today and with plastic that is just too hot. I fixed up the collapsed tunnel (which was hard to do since this bed is still half frozen) and replaced it with remay. I left the part with the onions and lettuce bare.

The major thing I noticed was that my three sisters garden will be mostly bare since most of the overwintered greens are dead. I thought a quick crop of spinach might be nice. I have seed for my whole garden but didn't order spinach. It usually doesn't grow well here. It bolts before it gives me much. I have a street light right outside the garden and always wondered if that was the cause. But hey, I had such good luck with my Asian greens last year and they usually don't do well in my garden either. I'm going to try it again. The local hardware store had only one type, Melody, so that is what I'm going to plant. I might just get lucky this year.


  1. I am confused on what type of day we had today. Started the say with blizzard like conditions to sunny and blue skys. Since the snow has already melted guess I will call it a good day.

  2. Daphne, I'm so glad that you're finally able to get out into the garden. I can't wait to see your results.


  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener, I'd count that as a good day since your snow is all gone and the sun is shining.

    EG, me either. I'm soaking those spinach seeds right now. I may not be able to work the garden soil yet, but I have some unfrozen soil to put them in.

  4. Almost Daphne, almost. Very slowly we are getting there. I still have snow in my potager, but the greenhouse are getting quite warm during the days, as soon the sun is out it gets very comfy in there.
    My seedling are getting on nicely on the veranda. I wonder did you say that you cut your leek/onion seedlings? Mine are about 4 inches now. What do you thing I shall do?


  5. It sounds like a treasure hunt when you check out your garden beds in spring!

  6. Tyra, yes I cut the tops off when they start getting too tall for their lights. I try to keep them about 4-6" high.

    Michelle, it really was a treasure hunt. I even found a tiny little cilantro seedling that had germinated already. Now that his plastic cover is gone, he may not survive, but I can hope.