Saturday, May 2, 2009

S - L - O - W Spring

I'm happy to report the snow continues to melt more each day, receding farther into the woods all the time. My field garden, raised beds and pumpkin patch are completely uncovered and I'm contemplating taking a walk to the raspberry patch to see if it's dry enough down there to do the spring pruning. However (drat and dang), our daytime temperatures are stubbornly refusing to climb out of the 40s, and we've been having more gray days than sunny ones so not much is growing outside (just basically lacking the warmth needed), nor is my garden soil drying out enough to think about planting . . . even under cold frames.

It's been hard (oh, the tribulation of it all) but I'm sticking to my resolve to hold off starting seedlings too soon inside this year. So far all I have going are my cherry tomatoes, sweet green/red peppers and some flowers.

The tomatoes are big enough that I transplanted them for the first time yesterday.

A friend was looking at my seedlings this past week and when she saw the above little green guys, she said rather incredulously, "You start your carrots individually inside?!" Guess they do kinda look like carrots, don't they? Actually, they're California Poppies, one of my husband's favorite flowers, and I transferred them to bigger pots yesterday also.

The peppers, although planted on the same day as the tomatoes, are slow germinators and aren't ready for a move to a roomier apartment yet.

So, as you can see, not a lot happening under the grow-lights yet, but I'll get some more things started this coming week. If we could only get a few days of sunshine in a row, I know my raised beds would be ready for some lettuce, radishes, salad greens, spinach, Swiss chard, onions, carrots and beets. I plant my peas in the field garden but that doesn't dry out as quickly as the garden beds so I'm gonna have to be patient a while longer to get them in.

I came across a quote the other day by Eleanor Perenyi which could be applied to us up here in the Frozen Tundra: "To garden is to let optimism get the better of judgement." Aw, c'mon, Eleanor. Where's your spirit of adventure?


MaineCelt said...

You can start California poppies? Really? I always direct-sow them and they never come up. I thought they didn't transplant well. Clearly, I am mistaken, to which I say: hurray!

So, DO tell me your secrets for growing and transplanting these pretty, pretty little flowers! They grew wild in the Northwest where I grew up and I'd love to grew a few here, but I need help!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, MaineCelt - Don't know how much help I can be to you 'cause I probably don't know what I'm talking about! The packet of California Poppy seeds I have is from 2002 and I've used some of the seeds every year since then . . . and they still seem to be plenty viable. The info on the packet says they can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before transplanting outside. I've both direct seeded them and started them inside with success. Seeds are so small that I prefer to start indoors so I don't waste so many seeds as direct seeding seems to do. Try again . . . either way . . . and good luck!

Melissa said...

What do you do with your raspberries as far as pruning etc? We planted some last spring and they are greening up and sucker shooting well, but now what? Should we have done something? Thanks!

Mama Pea said...

Hey, Melissa! Funny thing you should mention raspberries . . . my blog entry today is all about our pruning yesterday. I'll get it posted shortly.

If I were you, I'd cut out any canes that are definitely dead this spring, white/gray with 'peeling' skin/bark. If in doubt, leave the questionable canes for this season. Pull or prune out any suckers that are popping up outside of where you want your row to be.

Next spring you should definitely be able to see which canes need to be pruned.

Mmmmm, raspberries! Can you hardly wait?

Melissa said...

Mama Pea, Thanks for the info and post on the raspberries. We are new to them so any info helps. We are getting lots of sucker shoots on the one variety and less on the other. It is exciting to think of all the wonderful homegrown berries coming up this summer. Oh the joy of raspberries and cream. Now if I only knew what to do with 2nd year asparagus!