Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let It Be A Challenge

We're having one of the coldest spring/early summer seasons that anyone around here can remember.  Not only have we had no real warm weather yet, but sunshine has been scarce, too.

Yesterday I came across some garden pictures taken in 2010 . . . a year we had an extremely early, warm spring.  Geesh, how depressing when compared to the (non)growth in my garden this year!

But as they say, we have to take what we get when it comes to weather and make the best of it.


I have two beds of cherry tomatoes under cold frames . . . which is the only way they'd still be alive out there in our frigid temps.  The plants were long and leggy when I put them out, but I always strip the little branches and leaves off the bottom two-thirds of my tomato plants and plant them lying down with only the tops sticking up and out of the soil.  That really helps the plants develop strong root systems and the ability to bear more fruit.

My slicing cucumbers are also under a cold frame, but there are no hearty little green sprouts from those seeds yet.

I'm not planting any pickling cucs this year as "somebody" got a little carried away during her last pickling binge, and we have plenty (cases!)  of both dills and sweet pickles to tide us over for this coming year. 



The pepper plants aren't looking as good as when I set them out, but again, I believe the cold frame protection will enable them to survive until Mother Nature chooses to give us a break and send summer growing weather.



The herb and flower bed is probably crammed too full and I'll have to lift some of the flowers out when the herb plants take hold and start to grow (assuming that really will happen), but that's fine.  For now it looks like the best bed (along with maybe the first bed of lettuce) I've got going out there.



My shell peas are up and probably even enjoying this cold spring, but I've not poked any of the warm weather seeds like beans, corn or squash in the ground yet because I'm afraid the seeds would just rot.

The strawberry plants have blossoms and the blueberry bushes are more loaded with blossom buds this year than I've ever seen them.  I'm thinking we'll also get plenty of raspberries again this year, but the patch is getting old and needs to be ripped out and new canes started in a different area of the garden.  Whether that task will be accomplished this year or not remains to be seen.

I can honestly say the majority of my time in the past two weeks in which I've been a neglectful blogger has been spent garbed in very grubby apparel communing with the (albeit cool) soil in the garden.  I've gotten in good amounts of lettuces and other assorted salad greens, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, yellow and red onions, edible podded peas (thanks to Carolyn), potatoes, cucs, peppers, and tomatoes.  Also did some planting of flowers and dividing and transplanting of same.  My panic mode is dissipating and I'm relaxing a bit so you may be hearing from me on a more regular basis again.  (What?  No wild cheering?  Not even a one-handed clap?)

I know those of you suffering in too high temperatures too early in the season would be glad to accept a great, big crate of our cold weather if I could somehow manage to ship it to you.  Seems that no matter where we gardeners choose to call home, gardening is always a challenge because of one factor or another.  But to my mind, whatever harvest we manage to get in return for our efforts is well worth it.  Gardening clothes that will never look clean again, stained hands and fingernails that resist any amount of scrubbing, stiff and sore bodies and all . . . it is worth it.

14 comments:

Susan said...

I love your new header -- and so glad to see the pot removed from your lovely face! I would say that this year is setting up to be a huge challenge. We have had almost constant rain for days. Cool temps, gray skies. It's a challenge just to get the gumption to get out of bed! The only thing doing well are the lettuces. Everything else seems to be pathetic. I hope that things level out everywhere so that we ALL get our gardens going!

The Weekend Homesteader said...

It sounds like the time away did you some good. We've had an usually cool spring as well, but the heat is definitely kicking-in now with the high being in the mid-90s today. I wish I could send some of my weather your way to move things along for you.

Sparkless said...

I can't believe how cold your weather is this year. I think the weather is just letting you play catch-up from last year and when the warm weather hits everything is going to grow fast.

Carolyn said...

Like the new header! Although I MISS the other profile pic of you, it's a classic!

Michelle said...

Great header! It seems everyone is having weather problems this year. Ours is the wind beating our plants to death.

2 Tramps said...

Oh, dear Mama Pea, you run circles around many with your energy and enthusiasm, not to mention your stick-to-it-iveness! You are truly an inspiration - if Mama Pea can do, we at least need to try!!

We had frost here last night - had our 17 tomato plants tented for protection...

Mama Pea said...

Susan - What the heck is with our past few gardening seasons? Just about everyone has been having unusual weather or pests or seed failures to deal with.

My new header photo is compliments of my talented daughter who put it all together. I sure wouldn't have had any idea how to do it! I just provided the pictures and said, "Work your magic with these, m'dear."

Mama Pea said...

The Weekend Homesteader - Wouldn't that be great if we could somehow shuffle the cold and heat and dryness and rain around so we all had just the right amount of each? Ha! Dream on, huh?

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - From your mouth to the gardening gods' ears!

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - Thank you! I'll send you a copy of the ol' pot on the head . . . autographed!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - Oh, so sorry you're having to deal with bad winds in your garden. I've read plants are least able to stand the stress of winds. (Sorry to be the bearer of that news.)

Mama Pea said...

2 Tramps - Frost on June 11th? Ouch. Glad you had your tomato plants covered.

Thanks for your kind words . . . but I'm mostly just plain stubborn. (Just ask my husband.)

Amy Dingmann said...

It's always a challenge, isn't it? We finally had to turn our thermostats OFF because the furnace kept kicking on. Today. On June 12th. I think Mother Nature forgot to bring summer to Minnesota! Your plants look lovely, my dear. Keep at it!

Mama Pea said...

Amy - I hate to tell you how many mornings we've tried to go without a small fire in the wood stove only to give it up and make one around 11 a.m. because the house stayed so darn uncomfortable. I'd still rather take our crazy weather than live somewhere like Louisiana or Mississippi, wouldn't you?