Spring in the Garden

By Linda Nowak-Carlson, BriarPatch Floral Buyer

As I write, it’s the beginning of February, and we’ve had a week of temperatures in the 60’s. Quite a few plants have been fooled into thinking it’s spring and have begun blooming. But even though it’s beautiful outside, this just isn’t right. I’m trying to enjoy the display while not feeling too guilty about it. It will be interesting to see how many serious fluctuations in weather we experience between now and when this Vine is published.

In any case, this season is the best of both worlds. While you’re harvesting the abundance of the cool season veggies you planted earlier, you’re also preparing the soil for your summer garden. If you planted a cover crop and incorporated it into your garden soil, remember that you’ll want it to break down for a couple of weeks before you plant your summer crop. If you use the no-till method, you can add your cover crop greens to your compost, or let them lie in place and use them as a mulch.

The summer veggie and flower starts should begin to arrive in the first part of April. If you’ve lived in your current location more than a year, you’ve been able to observe your micro-climate in each season. This is important knowledge, as it enables you to know just when to plant your starts. Local lore says it’s time to plant when the blackberries in your micro-climate are blooming.

David Benson showing off certified organic greens, beets, peas and other starts from Sweet Roots Floral.

If you decide to purchase frost-sensitive plants early, be prepared to protect them with a frost blanket when necessary. Some folks, myself included, like to purchase the plants early and shift them to larger containers and keep them protected for a few weeks. Then, when the soil and air temperatures are warm enough, my plants will have larger root systems, and I’ll be able to harvest them earlier. As always, if you have questions on these gardening items, I can be reached at lindan@briarpatch.coop. Enjoy your time in the garden!


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