Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Perspective on dates

I have been going through my past entries here and there throughout the day and i want to summarize my actual planting dates.
Last year we had very warm weather. We were snowless at this time last year.
I had begun wintersowing by March 9th- tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower.
The next day i had sown cucumbers, squash, more tomatoes, watermelon, eggplant and peppers (the eggplant and peppers were not helped by being wintersown- a good point to remember).

March 12, i had drawn the outline of the garden with marking tape.
My crocus were starting to bloom on the 17th.
We were having temps in the 60's and my broccoli seeds were sprouting outside in their peat pellets.
On the 24th we got down to 9 degrees at night.
March 25, daffodils were blooming, lilac leaf buds were swelling and rhubarb was beginning to poke through the soil.
By the beginning of April, the wintersown tomatoes had sprouted- which is a good indicator that it is not too late to start tomatoes indoors or out by even as late as April.  Most garden guides tell me i should have started them a week ago.
April 15, the Jerusalem artichokes had emerged, rhubarb was really coming along.
April 17, snow happened.  No real harm done.
It was 65 degrees out on April  22

May 18th, i had the hoops up and row cover on.
I began to plant cold weather crops...the lilacs were in full bloom and beginning to go by.

May 21, i had gotten the tomatoes planted and under the covers.  The next day the summer squash were planted out.

May 23, the beets, rutabagas and bush beans were direct sown.

The weather through the 24th was in the 80's and watering was needed.
 May 25 was 98 degrees for the high.
By the 27th the seed tape carrots were sprouting.

I planted out the ZsaZsa peppers by May 31st. The first seeds i planted had refused to sprout so i had to try a second time. It was so late to get going that my plants only ended up with one fruit that never ripened.

I'll spare the details of last June 'till when they become important to remember, but i'm finding this blog to be very useful right now in helping me see how different this year will likely be.  This is more like i can remember it is.  Often we have snow on the ground until Easter.  I got an early start last year, and it probably could have been even earlier. It looks like our last frost was that night my seedlings got nipped in the mini greenhouse  on May 11th.

Always, i have been taught that planting happens Memorial Day weekend- or the last full moon of May- they are usually within a few days of each other.   Last year i planted a bit earlier than that. This year the full moon is on the 17th. he last full moon in May 2010 was on the 27th.

That's the next reason i blog.  The hyperanalitical part of me really gets into this. I hope to be recording these things for a number of years to see if it is either changeable or dependable. I want to eventually get a good feel for exactly how far i can push the season. 

Depending on how things look later on, i may use that last full moon as my starting date,  i can always delay if things look bad.   Since i hope to buy a few extra degrees upward of soil temps with the row cover and hopefully cheat any late frost the same way- i might learn to push the date even earlier.  I just have to go through the cycle for a few years and record it.  So as long as i don't get bored with blogging, i won't feel silly about the number of seemingly inane details i record almost daily from February to November. :o)

Spring is experiencing a slight delay...

Or maybe its not.  I'll have to look back and see what i complained about last year in regard to snowmelt and temperatures.  I'm sure i'm just being impatient.  The forecast is for temps in the 30s through the rest of the week.  We got about 5 inches of new snow that turned out to be less slushy than expected.  If the sun is strong it might melt quickly but if it stays cloudy it may not.

The Rose Orach sprouted- i noticed this yesterday. All the other seeds are still sleeping.

I'm still in the process of deciding what i will grow this year. I'm considering crossing the leeks off the list.  I'm not sure my method of planting would suit them.  Their need for a long growing season is discouraging.  I tend to plant in wide rows and leeks need to be 'hilled', and this will be difficult in wide rows because the soil i would need to use to build up around the leeks will be inhabited by more leeks.  I won't have a spare spot in the garden to dig out soil to hill them up and then i'm not sure how much yield...  They are expensive at the store and because of that i don't use them much- which means i can technically live without them. Also, if they don't size up to what i see in the grocery store i'll be disappointed- and its unlikely they will grow that large.  In the recipe i use them in, i use 3 at a time. My garden planner allows for 50 plants in the space i intended for them.  Not sure if i'll ever use that many before they go bad- and i don't plan to overwinter any plants in the garden, and and and i don't know if hubby will get on board with using the cold side of the basement as a root cellar.

I think i should stick to what i know- tomatoes, peppers, onions, eggplant, summer and winter squash, green beans, brassicas, herbs and some lettuces.

Experimentation will be limited to  houseplants.  Speaking of which- the buds on the hoya are sizing up:

Maybe not dramatic, but i noticed.

I took a look at the garden the other day. It had melted enough that i could locate where the kale and chard had been and other things too.

I've read that kale can sometimes overwinter- but i don't think it happened for me, lol.

But it looks like at least one of my Comfrey crowns did ok. Of course its way early to expect much, but i found a bit of green

I can't wait to see how my asparagus does this spring.  According to Steve Solomon, asparagus from seed can be harvested as soon as the second year as long as the spears are 3/4 of an inch in size.  But i don't have any idea if they will be that large and anyway i'll need to let them grow freely so i can locate and remove the female plants.  Doing this prevents the plot from going to seed, the seed germinating and leading to overcrowding- which leads to the demise of the plot.  With only male plants left and good fertilizing a plot can last about 50 years.

I never did try harvesting the horseradish i planted last spring.  I have tried planting it before in my parents' garden.  When i dug it up it was full of holes from soil bugs so i'm curious to see what i'll get this fall.

Yesterday i heard robins for the first time this year. It sounded like they were squabbling over some territory.  Despite the snow it shouldn't be long until the weather fits the part of the season i like so much.