Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Winter Redux Interrupting Spring's Advance

We woke up this morning to snow.  Five inches of snow.  Pretty white stuff, clinging to the sides of trees and shrubs and buildings, covering the ground, burying the newly planted broccoli, cauliflower and kale plants....

Yeah, about that.  I let the 80 degree temperatures a week or so ago get me into gardening mode and I started to get busy. 

Not being in a regimented frame of mind this year, I decided to do a little of this and a little of that.  That way gardening remains pleasureable and I don't get the feeling of having to finish a marathon when dealing with a big task.  It also helps me ease into the spring gardening season a bit, which becomes more and more important as increasing years bring on increasing aches and pains.

The first lettuce, spinach, chard, and tomato seeds were planted a little over 2 weeks ago.  They are coming up nicely, under lights and protected in the back shop.

Next on the agenda was beginning to clear out last year's dead flower stalks to make way for new growth.  This is where the "little of this, little of that" really began.  Rather than start at one end of the front flower bed and systematically uncover the entire thing, I decided to start by clearing out around the emerging daffodil clumps.

There was some method to my madness.  The temperatures haven't warmed up as much as they did during the last several Marches, so I've been feeling a bit dicey about uncovering everything already.  Yet the daffodils definitely were being overwhelmed physically by last year's remnant flower stalks.  Hence the compromise.

On the plus side, this gave the daffodils room to open freely and kept me from trying to do too much at one time and then suffering early spring gardener's remorse.  On the negative side, it's not very satisfying visually, since the remaining garden debris is what catches my attention still as I look at the beds.

In between cutting back flower stalks, I took the time to clear out the 2 worst vegetable beds from last summer, left full to overflowing with the carcasses of crab grass clumps and dried Burmuda stalks that had been allowed to overtake them due to the killing heat and drought.  (Yes, I broke my own cardinal rule:  Never let the weeds go to seed, because you'll regret it severely for several years.  And, yes, I fully expect to suffer the consequences of my lack of heat tolerance last year.  My consolation is that only one bed got really bad.  Somehow I kept up on the others reasonably well.)

Having 2 vegetable beds clear, I couldn't resist planting out a couple, purchased six-packs of early spring crops:  2 kinds of broccoli, cauliflower, and 2 kinds of kale. 

Meanwhile, the crocuses quickly finished up blooming and the daffodils began to unfurl.

A pasqueflower ventured TWO blooms this spring, and tulips, naked ladies, grape hyacinths, and standard hyacinths started pushing their green leaves up into the spring light.  I even noticed the newly planted clump of rue anemone blooming a couple days ago.

Now the snow.  I'm not too worried about the wildflowers or the spring bulbs - they should all be quite capable of handling some snow, as well as the predicted lows around 20.  However, my gamble garden of broccoli, cauliflower and kale may not be so lucky.  I'm too chicken to tramp out and look; I'll find out soon enough.  I'm actually more worried about how the low temperatures will affect the young plants, if it gets warm enough to melt the snow off today, than I am about what damage the snow itself will do to them.

I think all gardeners (and farmers) have a bit of the gambler in them.


ProfessorRoush said...

Most years I've planted potatoes and peas by now....but not this year. Something said "NO!"

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Those 80 degree days sure were nice. Work kept me too busy to get to planting then. Good thing I guess.
I cleared the beds with my daffodils first too. Today as we cleared icy and snow from the driveway, I gave my hubby instructions to throw it past the bed so the daffs aren't buried.
I like your stone walk.
Fingers crossed on your veggies!

Jason said...

Hope your vegetables are ok. Also, I sincerely hope that this is the last snowfall for you or (after tomorrow) for me.

Rebecca said...

Apparently, we are just a day behind you. We woke up to OUR snow today - Monday! It's pretty, but heavy. Our branches & bushes are really being challenged to hold up under its weight!

Anonymous said...

I've been keeping garden journals for a LONG time, and find that I just never appreciate that each and every Spring in my gardening years is full of tension in SPring - I am always lamenting that it will never come - it always does, and then the real fun (work) begins! Love your Spring flowers!!!

Gaia Gardener: said...

Appreciate everyone stopping by and commenting. I've been so excited because the last few days have been really warm and it's felt like spring is finally here. Then I saw that Monday night is due to be 19! 19?!!! Yikes. Guess I won't put out any more vegetables until that passes through.