Friday, April 7, 2017

Cold and Dampened Spirits

     Has all the late snow fall, rain and cool temperatures have you down and questioning whether you should bother with a garden this year?  For me this all sounds very relative and like Deja Vu.  If you recall or press the rewind button to last year, this weather is quite the norm for this time of year, like it or not, especially if you live in the Maritimes. It seems that we are very guilty of getting caught up in saying "I wish the sun would come out and that things would dry up and get warmer."  Does this statement sound familiar to you? It certainly resonates with me. It amazes me somehow, with the resilience of our garden plants, they do manage to grow and we celebrate with a harvest each year.

      Even though the weather is different from year to year, it doesn't seem to matter what the weather is, as we always get our gardens to grow and have a harvest in the fall. I have learned the "power of positive thinking" or "mind over matter" gets us through the dark and damp days. Depending on the weather it may be a good year for certain things and maybe not so good for others, but we always manage to enjoy fresh veggies as well as having a rewarding experience growing them.  It is worth all the fuss of "weather talk" in the spring just for that first fresh taste.

     When the weather is cool and damp like it routinely is this time of year at least here on PEI, it will soon be ideal growing conditions for early, temperature vegetables such as spinach, leaf lettuces and Cole crops such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.  

     Many gardeners are very keen to get their garden in as soon as possible just to say that it's done.  This is a great idea if you can do that successfully and if the weather is co-operating. However, if the weather is cool and damp then that means the soil will be cool and damp too, like the saying goes...the early bird DOESN'T always get the worm! This is still the ideal time to continue your focus on growing microgreens or sprouts indoors if you have the craving for that fresh veggie flavour. Gardeners can also be growing peppers, onions, leeks and other types of vegetables that need to be started indoors in order to reach maturity. Even though this type of gardening has to be done indoors, it may satisfy the desire of getting your garden started too early. Please check out our website for many tips on what to start indoors as well as successful ways of growing them after they germinate.

     I have always found that practicing patience is one of the key successes to a good garden, especially when it comes to growing veggies. Often times I have heard that a garden that is planted in June (some people think starting a garden at this time as being late), generally will catch up to a garden that was planted in May. I know its hard to refrain from planting once the weather seems like it has turned in our favour, however it is quite typical and normal for it to be cool again before the really nice weather decides to stay. Why is this we ask?...It's all because the soil is much warmer, days are longer and possibly not as many damp mornings or cool nights. 

     If a garden is started too early, it is quite possible that the reason why some seeds may not germinate could be due to rot or other issues such as seed maggot damage. These issues generally are reported during early plantings or cool, damp spring seasons. Gardeners who plant too early will likely spend more hours weeding as well.  When you think of it, this makes a lot of sense because the plants are much slower to grow during unfavourable conditions and we all know weeds will thrive. Once it turns warmer, plants grow faster and will impede the growth of weed competition as well. 

     Of course there are some types of veggies that grow best when planted early and also can be planted a second time for a later harvest as the season progresses such as radish or spinach. We have been very fortunate over the last number of years to utilize equipment that will enable us an earlier start or extend the season into late fall - early winter. If you are one of those "extra keen" gardeners that wants to get it growing on, it can be done with row covers, raised garden beds, growing in containers or even a mini greenhouse.  Whatever you find successful from year to year, keep with it and most of all don't forget that gardening has so many rewards!

                                     My hope for all fellow gardeners is that...

Your Rainy days; Will become
                                                                                                             Sunny Days!


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