Saturday, May 6, 2017

Oh, Spring, Wherefore Art Thou?

We've been alternating between cool, sunshiny days and cool, dark, drippy days.  Not the best for getting much speed built up on outside tasks.  But it is the merry, merry month of May in the north woods, so we shouldn't expect anything else.

Yesterday was a drippy one so I spent the day in the kitchen making four different big pots of soups/stews in an effort to restock the pantry for the upcoming busy summer months.  I was planning on making two more batches today but we did have sunshine so I worked outside digging out great quantities of the dreaded quack grass which is making an effort to invade the (as of yet empty) raised beds.

I've dropped several hints to Papa Pea that the field garden is wanting to be cultivated in order to further incorporate the compost we put on it last fall plus to beat down the early weeds.  Cultivation hasn't happened yet but the fella has been a busy beaver doing lots of other chores, all of which seem to rank as a number one priority now that the snow is gone and outside temperatures are pleasant.

Pleasant temperatures, yes;  warm temperatures, no.  We're still dropping down to the low 30s at night and even the sunny days do nothing more than tease us by getting allll-most to the 50 degree mark. 


I did some transplanting of seedlings today, planting to bigger pots.  (Avert your eyes, Rain.  I'm using those deeply despised peat pots.)  I think I have the damping off fungus under control.  Sort of.  At least nothing else seems to be dying, but out of 40 Brussels sprout seeds planted (and they were new seeds), I got germination and good growth of only 10.  Not a good ratio.  I think I still have time so I'll plant some more seeds tomorrow.

I also planted one raised bed outside today with a mixture of salad greens.  An assortment of lettuces, some spinach, Swiss chard, Scarlet Frills, arugula, radishes, kale, etc.  Covered the bed with a cold frame and am hoping for the best.  The seeds are all cool weather crops and we've certainly got the cool weather!  I'm thinking the biggest hurdle will be to make sure I ventilate the cold frame enough on sunny days and keep the seeds watered.



 

26 comments:

Sue said...

I never count on warm-ish nights until July at least. We've had frosts as late as mid-June, so yea, the cover/uncover thing goes on far longer than I care to deal with anymore.
Makes me cranky the older I get!

On a bright note, at least you're getting stuff ready for the busy season ahead. I made a huge pot of chili today for the freezer. I have broccoli and also cauliflower soups done as well. Lots of chicken stock done up as well.
Don't overstock with soups--you have to have plenty of room for berries end of next month!!!!
:)

Kristina said...

It's pretty chilly here too, but expected. We have a rule in our parts "never plant until after Mother's Day" but the cold weather stuff is planted. I feel like we did better in planning this year, than any previous year. Other than I should have planted more seeds indoors.

Katie C. said...

In Northern Virginia, the weather is plain nutso! We had some 90, yes 90 degrees, days but now it's in the upper 40s at night and it *might reach the low 60s during the day. I refuse to turn the heat back on. Put on a sweater! .. or cuddle up with someone ;-)

We finally got our cool weather spinach, etc. in. We also put in a few tomato and pepper plants but not the ones in the community garden. Here at the house, it's more sheltered so they hopefully should be ok.

It's been raining here for a couple of days so today is weeding day.

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :)) Your seedlings look nice and healthy! OH, the peat, the peat....I can't judge others, but you know my feelings about the peat! :) I think it's great you got some planting done! I'm just making a "to do" list for outside. I have lots planned but that rain really needs to stop for a while!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - And we do eat a bowl of berries (and maybe with a little cream!) for meals in the summer time, make no mistake on that!! Do you think it will ever be warm enough to actually grow berries?? We had 28F for an over night low last night. Ugh.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - All of us gardeners keep trying to "do better" each year, don't we? (Sometimes we even succeed! Hee-hee.)

Mama Pea said...

Katie C. - Oh, those wild fluctuations in temp would make me crazy. We had some warmer weather a couple of weeks ago and hubby couldn't sleep because of the winter down comforter still on our bed. So I took it off, packed it away for summer, and put on our summer weight blanket. Now for several nights at bedtime I have to haul the couch quilt into the bedroom so he's warm enough. Yep, that's spring for ya!

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Yep, the usual rains in the spring not only seem to keep it cool but make it hard to get anything done outside. We had 28F over night last night and could see frost in spots this morning so I have to reign myself in before I get over zealous about planting much more. Sigh.

Sue said...

So you sent this my way?? Noon-and it's a whopping 43 degrees. Lows tonight 22-26. Gah! I'm putting a space heater in my stall for the seedlings out there. I am sick sick sick of hauling stuff in and out.
Stay warm, dear lady. There's gotta be an end in sight............

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Haha! We've got you beat . . . by one whole degree now at 2:30. I don't think we're supposed to be as cold as you tonight though. Geesh, I hope not! At least you've had warm enough days to put your stuff out during the day. No way I can do that yet. :o(

Michelle said...

Yeah, I've prompted my guy to work in our garden, too, but he's asleep in his recliner on this beautiful, sunshiny day! :-/

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - I don't know why they don't do just what we want them to do when we want them to do it. ;o/

Laurie said...

Woo Hoo! The planting has begun. I'm looking forward to pictures. Wishing you warm days with lots of sunshine.

Katie C. said...

I did the same thing! My guy calls the winter comforter "Fluffy." Last night he asked if we are going to get Fluffy back out. I just draped my robe on top of my blanket. It worked fine for the short term. We are going to have several more cool nights yet. The older of my two cats is also cold. She grumbles at me and sits on any human that she can catch. Her paws are cold so I microwaved one of my homemade rice pads, sandwiched it in a sofa blanket and planted her on top. She just sits there and purrs.

Today is "the day after" a four hour gardening jag. Everything aches. Especially my hands. Also, the pollen has been ridiculously high. What about where you are?

On the seedling front, we are trying to temper them by hauling them out to the patio table during the day. I read something about how it would harden the plants to the wind? Not sure.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

That's us too Mama Pea...if we are not being blown sideways by the wind we are under cloud. And cold. Hurry up spring we can't wait forever!

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

It's cold with flurries today, definitely doesn't feel like spring! I'm glad I made a big pot of soup last night, it was great for lunch today to warm my cold bones. Just hopped on over to your blog from another, I'm excited to take a good look around!

Kev Alviti said...

Thats the trouble with the frames, they're so much work. I've got most of my beds covered at the moment and it's a pain to see crops let alone do anything to them. That said I should have beetroot ready in two weeks time and carrots and kohl rabi shortly after that, already having salad.
The damping off could be to do with ventilation? I've not suffered with it although had a few lettuce seedling rot off for no reason lately.

Kristina said...

I don't have any cold frames. I should too. I am using the peat pots for some too.

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - This is Tuesday morning I'm writing . . . the last two days we've had gorgeous sunshine, but every time one of us comes inside we say, "Dang, it's a lot colder out there than it looks!" One of these day though . . . we will have warmth! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - Yep. We don't even have the sun today. (Did I pack away my longies already? And . . . why?)

Mama Pea said...

Debbie - Thanks for commenting! Oh, yes, soup these days is just the ticket. Although with these cold days hanging on, I'm taking advantage of the time to make oven meals that I won't be wanting to make when the warmth of summer finally arrives!

Mama Pea said...

Kev - Yes, I've come to the conclusion that poor ventilation probably cause some (if not all) of my damping off. Had hoped to have my seed starting rack/operation in a new area (with good ventilation options) this year, but the new room isn't finished. (Can you relate to that??)

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - You get warm enough in the spring (usually!) that you probably don't need the cold frames so much. Up I keep them over my peppers, eggplant, etc. all season long and definitely need them to get a jump start on our cool month of June. :o(

Mama Pea said...

Katie C. - Yeah, my hands were sore after my first gardening day, too.

Our area is known for not having much of a pollen problem . . . was advertised as long ago as back in the '20s for a place to go for relief of hay fever and other allergies.

I've always heard that you should never transplant seedlings into the garden on a windy day because the wind stress can be very hard on them. So even when I'm hardening off my seedlings, I always put them up against the house or protected in some way if there is wind present.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

My gosh......you're way ahead of me. At least I know whose freezer I can raid for stews and soups. :-)

Glad to see you're able to get some veggies in the ground in your cold frames.

I'm doing the sun dance over here in Oklahoma for you :-)

Hugs,
Sandy

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - We raided the soup supply this noon (Cream of Tomato) because I spent the whole day out in the garden and lunch time kinda snuck up on me! Had lovely sun all day and a temp that actually hit 50F! Wa-hoo! Your sun dance is working!