Sunday, March 20, 2016

The garden on 20 March 2016

According to the hardiness maps and the weather predictions, it's early in the growing season, too early for many plants.  However, just look around the garden (and your yard).  The fruit trees are all blossoming, and, in fact, some have moved on to start fruit already.

As for vegetables in the garden, chards and kales that overwintered are just about perfect at the moment.  With young leaves and close to freezing night temperatures, the greens are sweet and tender.  That will change, of course, as soon as it warms up, but it's a nice early season treat for those who have overwintered vegetables.

In my sunny row, I put in some lettuce starts (not very successful - I seem to do better starting from seed than putting in seedlings.)  The seeds I put out earlier - snow peas, spinach, radishes are all up and growing.  For the snow peas, at least, you could say that the clock is ticking - they won't survive the heat very well although I have managed to coax them along until May in the past.  But, as the season progresses, they have a tendancy to provide an early nosh for spider mites and powdery mildew.  So, vigilance becoming increasingly important.

In the shady row I share with another gardener, we put in brussels sprouts, broccoli, and lettuce.  Again, alas, no luck with the lettuce but I'll try yet again.  As for the brussels sprouts and broccoli, they're established but like the snow peas, it will be a race to see if we can bring them to proper eating status before they bolt or simply wilt from our heat.  The potatoes we put out earlier are coming up and it will soon be time to cover them lightly and loosely with some alfalfa to train them ever upward, hopefully, setting tubers along their stems as they reach for the sun.

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