Monday, May 15, 2017

not quite planting time

It's been too cold to plant. I mean, it's been really cold.
Giant kettle of soup cold.

Stodgy-meal cold.

I've even turned the heat on for the past few nights so Piper won't think Winter is back. Heat on in May! Good gracious.

Despite the weather, watching the spring wildflowers appearing and the trees blooming and beginning to leaf out is endlessly exciting.

Unfortunately, the cold nights and overcast days have meant a struggle for some, like these Solomon's Seal plants you saw earlier:

These greening and fast-moving days make me feel I'm late getting the vegetable garden started, but in fact it is still too cold for the things I intend to plant. That said, between the rainy spells there's plenty of prep work to be done in the gardens before anything is planted. A couple of weeks ago I marked out the six upper rows in the terrace vegetable garden, and my helper rough-dug the rows and reinstalled a section of garden fence we had taken down in the autumn.

This is what the rows look like after the soil is just turned over...I think you can see a few rocks there?

So I have to go over each row, foot by foot, sifting the soil through my fingers and tossing the rocks into a bucket. I got one row done last week, on a day when the rain held off til evening. This row is ready to plant as soon as the weather warms up:

Only five more rows to go!

Then there's a new little experimental raised bed in the works, for a hill of either squash or cukes - something that will grow on a trellis. It doesn't look like much yet:

This little bed is on a stony bit of slope and I am trying to support the downhill edge of the bed with rocks sifted from the planting rows. A first layer of organic material has been piled up around a 5-gallon bucket, and there will be some soil added to the top. The bucket has holes drilled in it near the bottom, and my plan is to use it as a waterer, to help roots find deeper moisture in the summer.

I don't plan to buy much seed this year - maybe just summer squash and pole beans. I've saved seed from some of last year's success stories: the candy roaster squash, suyo long cucumbers, and popcorn. I also have Egyptian "walking onions" and field peas ordered last Autumn. All of the above came from Sow True Seed - the Appalachian seed company I learned about from Tipper at the Blind Pig and the Acorn blog. You may recall that Tipper kindly allowed this Yankee to participate several times in her annual seed-testing project, which has been great fun.

This year, Tipper has become a Sow True Seed affiliate: here is Tipper's brand-new affiliate link to the Sow True Seed online catalog, in case you'd care to visit. I really appreciate what these folks are doing to preserve and distribute heirloom varieties.

How about you? How are your gardens - or garden plans - or next year's garden plans, for those readers living in the southern hemisphere - coming along?