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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

As I mentioned before, the spring weather has not been very “spring like.” It’s been colder than normal, and there have been nights of freezing temperatures and snow flurries. Not exactly ideal conditions for starting our spring crops, which I’ve always been told should be in the ground around the Ides of March.

Because of the wild weather swings, we tried to outsmart Mother Nature and pre-sprout our pea plants. I knew they wouldn’t germinate in the soil when it was that cold outside. And it worked wonderfully!

IMG_9307The basics are pretty easy: take the pea seeds (really just shriveled up peas) and place them in a damp paper towel. If you have two different kinds, I’d suggest labeling them. We just used permanent marker to write on the paper towels before soaking them.

Once the seeds are in place, place them in a covered container (we used a small pyrex bowl, but you could also use a plastic bag) and place them in a warm place. For us, that was the top of the refrigerator. Check on them after a couple of days and dampen the paper towels, if needed. Ours took about three or four days for all the peas to sprout. Once they’re sprouted, plant as soon as possible in the garden.

IMG_9595Ours are up and doing great, even though the day I planted them (March 23), it was spitting snow. But it seems winter has finally released its tenuous grasp on Cincinnati and the weather these past few days has been quite lovely!

Now our only challenge will be trying to figure out how to trellis the peas as they grow because I didn’t think that far ahead when I planted them in the garden.

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Our garlic, left, growing strong in front of the peas, and our newly planted broccoli, with garlic behind it.

Our garlic, left, growing strong in front of the peas, and our newly planted broccoli, with garlic behind it.

It was much later than we planned, but we finally have our spring plants in the ground. The weather was so radical in its swings – warm, sunny days followed by freezing temperatures, a bit of snow and days of heavy rain – I was afraid if we planted any earlier nothing would survive.

So right now we have broccoli, spinach, lettuce, radishes and snow/sugar snap peas in the ground.

All seem to be doing well, even though it’s only been about week. And now that we’re “veteran broccoli growers,” we know what to keep an eye on as far as leaf/bug issues.

The squirrels have been digging a bit, probably trying to find the last of the acorn stash, and even turned up a few pea seeds. But, the good news is they were sprouting, so we’ll at least have a few plants! We’ll have to find some method to keep them out until everything germinates and is coming up, maybe some netting will help.

We also have some kale seeds started in small cell packs to transplant when they get bigger. The garlic is also looking great, and we can’t wait until we’re able to harvest it.

 

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Last weekend we did some basic garden clean up — removing the leftover leaves, turning the soil and moving some of the perennial herbs like chives, oregano and thyme.

The herbs are in temporary pots until I decide where to put them, either back in the beds or in other containers. Also, the garlic is doing very well! I can’t wait to harvest our own, and our limited success so far this year means we’ll definitely be trying it again next year.

Also, I’m happy to report the in-bed composting worked fantastically! We weren’t sure if it would, but except for a stray peanut shell or flower stem, everything broke down during winter. This is also something we’ll continue each year. It’s a great way to add more nutrients directly to the soil.

Finally, our planting schedule is getting thrown off a bit again because of the weather. We’re officially in spring, but there is supposed to be another round of snow this week with lows below freezing for most days.

To me, it’s not worth it to buy the broccoli transplants or seed lettuce/spinach/peas when they could just die in the cold.

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Probably the last vegetables we'll get from the garden this year.

Probably the last vegetables we’ll get from the garden this year.

As the weather gets colder, our plants are on their way out. It’s a bit odd because there are new eggplant flowers and pepper flowers, but they won’t have enough time to mature. We have a few more grape tomatoes that might be ready before it gets too cold, but pretty much everything else is done. We tried to plant some fall vegetables, but that plan seems to have failed. More on that later.

Overall, it was a pretty successful year. Not the best, but it was way better than what we had last year, or even the year before. I’ll recap everything in later posts, plus share some more recipes we made when all our vegetables were thriving.

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Sugar snap peas coming along nicely.

Sugar snap peas coming along nicely.

Our peas are coming along nicely, but I’m not sure if we will get anything. The weather was a bit too unpredictable this spring, so they were planted late.

Some rotted in the ground or otherwise didn’t sprout. They’ve started putting out tendrils so we needed to give them support.

Instead of a trellis we used a wire fence that was in the garage. It’s not very tall but it works. I’m still afraid the weather will get too warm before we get any peas. Keeping my fingers crossed that at least a few pods form.

If they don’t, at least we found out last year that pea shoots are pretty tasty.

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

After all the gardening research, reading and planning this winter, spring was supposed to be the start of a splendid gardening season.

But Ohio’s weather seems to have something else in mind. On the first day of spring this year it was 38 degrees. Last year we were seeing record-breaking temperatures around 83 degrees.

We’re now almost two full weeks into spring, and the weather pattern is still wreaking havoc on our plans. It’s been warm then cold, sunny then snowy.

Luckily we had a bit of a break this past weekend and were able to get some garden prep and planting finished. We finally removed all the weed barriers from under the raised beds, turned under the decomposing leaves, and mixed everything together with a small dose of compost from our bin. Everything was much easier and quicker with help from my fiancé and his brother!

Our broccoli transplants are in the ground. We're hoping they do well this year.

Our broccoli transplants are in the ground. We’re hoping they do well this year.

We also planted a few vegetables, even though it’s a couple weeks later than expected.

With the weather a bit colder than usual – and a few nights with below freezing temperatures – I’m a bit worried about how it will work.

Peas, lettuce, spinach and broccoli are pretty frost-tolerant so we’re hopeful they sprout and survive. I checked the broccoli yesterday morning, and the leaves were a little wilted.

When I checked again in the evening, they seemed to bounce back and are looking healthy. I might cover them tonight if the temperatures are still expected to be chilly.

I’d remove the cover (probably the landscape fabric we removed this weekend) from the broccoli in the morning, but I think I might leave it on the lettuce, spinach and peas to warm up the soil and give a small boost to the germinating seeds.

We’ll also plant another few rows of lettuce and spinach in a couple weeks so we’re not forced to eat nothing but greens for weeks when it all matures at the same time. Or it might be to replace what the squirrels decide to dig up.

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The past couple weeks have been absolutely brutal on our garden. Powerful storms blew through the area, it hasn’t rained in what seems like weeks (except for a few scattered sprinkles) and we’ve had record-breaking heat with several days climbing past 100 degrees.

We’ve kept everything watered as well as we could, but the heat seems to be taking its toll on our garden. The green beans don’t seem to be getting any bigger, a couple eggplants wrinkled almost overnight and our lettuce turned bitter.

I’ve also noticed blossom-end rot on a handful of tomatoes just as they’re starting to turn color. That’s a bummer.

It also appears the bugs are munching on our Brussels sprouts again and on the eggplant leaves.

I’m searching for solutions to all these issues an hoping the break in the weather and the rain will give us a chance to make this garden productive again.

The only good news is that we’ve picked many jalapeños (our golden crop) and the blackberries started turning black.

Let’s hope everything rebounds in July.

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