Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cool Weather/Rain Delays Planting

Since this March has been a little cooler than normal (who knows what's normal), we had to delay our usual Spring garden time table for planting warmer crops until this week. Added to the delay was the wonderful rain we've experienced, too. I will never complain about rain! If possible, we try to have most summer plants in the ground before or on Good Friday.

But as you can see above, we did break ground this Tuesday, even though our garden spot for my preference needed more sun.

However our leeks from last fall are beginning to grow. Deberah planted these from seed last spring, so we knew it would take a season before any would be ready for the stove (hopefully late summer).

We also ate lettuce all winter. There were volunteers from last spring we transplanted to our fall lettuce bed, plus, we planted more seeds this Spring among the mature plants.

How do you know when the soil is too damp to plant seeds? It's an easy test, take a handful of dirt, make a fist, if it clumps into a ball then let it dry a bit. This simple test can also tell you about your gardens' drainage, condition of your soil like too much clay requiring additives like compost, sand or leaves to correct the problem.

We turned ours to let the sun dry it out, as we really don't have a drainage problem, just eager Spring beavers.

We did plant some cool weather crops in February, as seen above, turnip greens. Sugar peas, beets, red and yellow onions, bok choy, kale, carrots, radish, shallots, red and white potatoes, plus a bag of elephant garlic (bought at the Southeastern Flower Show) are beginning to break the ground and see the sky.

Jerry worked Monday morning tilling rows needed for our warmer crops, but when the soil looked so damp, we let the sun do it's job to dry them out. The next day we got busy, after lunch planting cucumbers, green beans, spinach (cooler weather plant), and six kinds of squash.

I really prefer the soil to be a lot drier before planting seeds. But who am I to question "Mother Nature?" I always think about years past when gardeners used a mule and plow to turn their gardens and especially see TV movies where the dirt looks damp and clumpy in thses plots the harvests always look good. Hey, obviously, we all made it here without the "Troy-Built" and perfect soil!

Don't worry, if the cool weather or rain has delayed your garden or yard plans. There's still plenty of time to plant a vegetable garden, shrubs, trees and flowers in your yard. This week-end looks like a great opportunity with sun and temps in the 70s.

Gardening is an ever changing experiment. What we think is usual is only for that year's season and may change your plans the next season.

Until next time...........

Happy Gardening 2013!

Posted by Wilma Smith

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