Spring is here somewhere, we were able to catch a glimpse of her today as the sun shown down upon us off and on throughout the afternoon. On last evenings news our most jovial weatherman happily informed us, it's quite obvious he does not garden, that we are approaching a new record of 129 days below 40°, only seven more days to go...as a gardener I was so not excited. The good news is that not a single snowflake has fallen all week and the weatherman's record will not be broken as today it was easily 50° out, and that gives me hope.
The moose are shedding their winter coats, geese are flying overhead - stopping to sun themselves on the ice covered lake, and the chickens are scratching around looking for bugs under the trees where the ground is bare.
Then there's us, trying to plant things in the snow...foolish humans. This is another of those occasions, that I usually regret, which against my better judgment and in over enthusiastic jubilation I shake a fist at the weather and demand to be able to grow something outside.
In all honesty this is a somewhat tried and true method that I have used for a few years now as I am a very impatient gardener and refuse to be entirely at the mercy of the weather. Much too impatient to wait for all this snow to thaw. So on this first day of spring we proceeded to plant more spinach, cress, mustard, various other greens along with some Russian kale rootstock in the salad green section of our snow covered garden. Under the row covers the soil was totally thawed and was noticeably warm today as we worked it in preparation for seed sowing. If only I could do this to my whole garden, but we do have about fourteen 30 - 60' rows like this which allow me a fairly good start, mostly on salad greens, onions, leeks, and early brassicas.
This winter was particularly hard on our winter greens and many did not pull through, but enough did, and enough is as much as we needed. The spinach in the cold frames is starting to abound with life, but for some reason one of my hardiest greens, corn mache, had to be replanted as only a few managed to survive the cold.
We experienced a few too many freeze and thaw cycles which inevitably breaks down the plants cells and they begin to fail. It also did not help that a few of our row covers collapsed under the weight of snow and even though I was able to fix them the damage to the plants had already been done. Many winter greens can freeze and thaw quite a few times with no problem but if crushed while frozen that's all she wrote.
Hopefully spring will soon emerge in all it's glory and the barren white can become green and full of life again. Soon winter will be long forgotten and other challenges will take it's place, the frigid boreal garden will be replaced with a lush summer garden and we will once again feast on the delicacies thereof.