There was a week of nice weather sometime around mid-February.
The seed racks began to fill up at The Co-op and I started to feel ansy as my schedule got too busy to answer the call coming from my vegetable garden. Could it be waking up from its winter slumber or was it just my stomach grumbling?
Some winters are very mild, but this year has felt colder and wetter than usual. It hasn’t affected my work schedule too much, which is good. There is so much to do this time of year to get everyone’s gardens ready for the spring: pruning, mulching and of course, always weeding.
The weekend of the 18th I finally had time [and good enough weather] to make my way into the garden. The kale had seen better times, so, it got yanked. The spinach and arugula that I had planted in the fall looked good and seemed to finally be growing. The lettuce had overwintered, but not well. It hadn’t grown much before the cold weather hit and the outer leaves looked ready to rot.
I got to work on cleaning up the plants.
Always remove any part of the plant that is dead or damaged. This is an essential garden chore, but even more so in the winter months. This keeps the plants healthy and free of rot; which can be a major issue with wintertime vegetable gardening.
Next, I weeded to give the plants more space and sunlight. Since sunlight is so important in a vegetable garden, do not let your vegies become crowded. You may find that you want to space plants even further apart than what is recommended because the slanting light of the winter sun can cause plants to caste their shade on each other.
Starting with seed.
I went to The Co-op that evening to buy the seeds: lettuce, spinach, radish and snow peas. The main focus of my vegetable patch is to supply my family with greens and things for salad. My garden is much smaller than it use to be, so I’ve had to make some tough decisions on what to grow. There are still a few things that I grow for storage but, I don’t have room for a row of turnips anymore! Oh well, not so sad about that…..
By Sunday morning I was back in the garden to start my first round of plantings. I like to direct sow seeds as much as possible. This seems to work pretty well for this time of the year. I will grow some starts in trays and pots, but that will mostly be a way to get a head start on the vegetables that like it hot. Direct sowing is less work and there are many plants that don’t transplant very well. So, into the garden I went with a handful of seed packets. I knew it might be too early in the year, but I was unable to resist the temptation to try. We were finally having some nice days and I wanted to think that spring might be around the corner.
Spring is here at last.
Here on the Olympic Peninsula, the days have been cold and the ground has stayed wet. Since that time in February we have had rain, snow, hail and even an afternoon when slush fell from the sky. I had begun to wonder if the seeds I’d planted in February had already rotted away. All I could see from my kitchen window were my fall plantings and dirt. So, I finally made a trip into the garden to get some spinach and to have a look around to see if anything was up.
I saw no sign of the lettuce. Dang.
Yes, the radish and spinach seeds had sprouted, but had only put out their first seed leaves.
Hmm, what about the peas at the back of the garden? I know that they are a very early crop, but can be susceptible to rot from the wet conditions.
How nice it was to find that the peas had sprouted and were a healthy bright green. Truly a lovely “start” to spring.