Monday, 23 April 2012

a chilly day

Well, I turned the soil in the vegetable garden.  I added compost, then one week later, lime.  I turned the soil again.  I took its temperature.  I then made a decision and sowed the spinach, radish, and mesculan seeds.  Then I transplanted three summer squash seedlings that were ready to go in the ground.  All looked good until the weather turned.

In spite of  the books and tips and growing guides, nothing surpasses experience.  I did not fail to remember that this could happen...I just want to see how early is early! This is my second season with vegetable-growing so, in the spirit of gaining experience first-hand, I am embracing this opportunity to learn. 

I have been covering the rows of seedlings with clear, heavy-duty plastic. I am doing this because although spinach and radishes can (according to the growing guides) be sown "early spring or as soon as ground can be worked" I thought I should take this precaution.   Even though night temperatures have been a brutal (compared to two weeks ago) 3-5 degrees celsius, they are thriving!  The zucchini plants are holding their own ( have even blossomed), spending nights covered with inverted styrofoam planters.  The weather will continue to be cold for the next week, at least.  I am skeptical anything will survive but, at the same time, optimistic.  Optimistic because in the flower beds all manner of growth ( perennials and weeds) is occurring despite the cold. 

Needless to say, the indoor-started tomato plants (now 8-10 inches tall) and the peppers (with flower buds forming) will be staying indoors until all chance of frost is over.  This could be 2-3 weeks away so, lessoned learned, experience noted:  next year I will decide if I want to deal with row covers and the anxiety of watching indoor seedlings flourish too early for planting out or patiently find something else to do until the nurseries (and certainly they have experience!) put the plants out for sale.

Thing is, there are two ways to grow a vegetable garden:  seeds and seedlings.  Both methods have guidelines to follow.  Picking up seedlings from a nursery and putting them into the ground at the recommended time is easier, for sure, but I like the challenges of starting from seed.  This provides a more complete experience and control over what I am growing vis-a-vis quality of seed.  I only want to use non-genetically-modified, organic, heritage, etc.