It occurred to me last night at 3:00 AM, when I had to run outside in the thunder and lightning in my nightgown to put my tools away, that I have been very lucky with the planting of our garden this year. After each major planting session we have had a couple of days of rain. I left my tools exposed to the elements because when I went in for the day there were no signs of inclement weather. I usually put them away at the end of a session, unless I know for some certainty that rain is unlikely. Spring in Maine can be pretty wet, sometimes for weeks on end. This year we have had some pretty hot sunny days early in the season, including a week long stretch of 80 degree temps in March. I have no doubt that global climate change is a reality. In just the past seven years that we have been growing here we have seen some pretty distinct changes in the timing of seasonal changes. Every year Spring comes a little earlier, and Fall stays a little later. This year I have been confused about my planting schedule due to the extreme temperature swings since March. Should I plant the peas? The potatoes? Is it too early for cucumbers? Zucchini? Am I late for planting my Sweet Peas? I spent three hours yesterday planting a second round of beets and carrots (the bed with the checkerboard mulch above), a bed of shell beans, the pole & bush beans, and a bed with assorted greens- chard, Dinosaur kale, radicchio and (new this year) cumin. I was going to seed the cukes and zukes, but stopped myself. Even though it was probably in the mid-70’s yesterday, those cucurbits like it even warmer-say in the 60’s at night- to germinate. So while I could have planted those seeds, they would have sat miserably in the ground while we have this cool wet rain that we’re having today.
So I’ll wait another week, or more depending on the weather, before seeding those guys. But I’m betting the beans and greens I planted yesterday are mighty happy about all this wet today. And the second round of carrots will germinate much better in the damp. Carrots are always a challenge to keep damp enough to sprout in the Spring warmth. Our garden is down the slope from our house, far enough away that I have to remember to check on sprouters with a trip down the hill. Needless to say, it doesn’t always happen. So I have had some bad luck with carrots. The potatoes that were planted about ten days ago are poking up, as are some weeds… Last year out of sheer laziness we planted potatoes that we bought at a local garden center. They were not organic. They were not good. This year I went back to our usual source, Moose Tubers, and am happy to be back with our friends. We’ve got the bed netted to keep the chickens from digging up the little taterlets. So in order to weed I’ve got to disassemble the protection. Bit of a deterrent to the humans as well as the chickens. When this rain stops I will climb in and weed that bed. By then all of the potatoes should be up, and I can apply the first layer of mulch. Vegetable garden season is here!