Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A VERY Early Spring

I have finally arranged my schedule, and am pleased to announce that posts will appear hear each Wednesday henceforth. I write two other blogs. One is here. The other is an internal blog for the company I work for. Thus, I am blogging three days a week, plus I have other projects. Ergo, blogs appear on Monday (work), Wednesday (this one) and Friday (The Permanent Gardener).

Carolina jessamine
 As you can see from the photo at left, the garden is busting out all over after several days of record high temperatures. The greenhouses are warming up into the 90s. We are going to add some extra ventilation this afternoon to bring the temperature down a bit for the lettuce. Kale and winter greens are bolting all over the place. We are harvesting and using everything we can. Fortunately, we are able to grow more than we can use fresh of most vegetables, so we have excess to freeze for later or share with others.

Our first spring planting of lettuce, which went in on March 5, will be ready to harvest next week. It is growing like crazy in the unusual warmth.

Every gardener I know is praying that we won't have a late freeze next month. The dogwoods are already beginning to swell, virtually guaranteeing that Knoxville's annual Dogwood Arts Festival will take place without the star attraction, since the event is roughly a month in the future. I'm predicting the dogwoods will be done by then. Our large redbud tree, and those I've observed all over the county, are hitting their peak about now, much earlier than usual.

Welcome to Louisiana! Can you imagine how the summer is going to be if this keeps up?

I am going to plant beans after I remove the kale crop. It is about a month earlier than usual, but what the heck. I have a brown-seeded bush variety, Contender, that made a tasty crop last year. Did you know that you should choose brown-seeded bean varieties for early planting? They will germinate in cooler soil than is the case with white-seeded beans.

I planted Yukon Gold potatoes on St. Patrick's Day, last Saturday, right on schedule. This afternoon we will also be transplanting leeks and scallions, and seeding carrots, beets and radishes. For those who follow the moon phase planting schedule, Thursday marks the New Moon, and the end of the traditional time for sowing root crops. The beans go into the ground on the weekend, because the moon will then be waxing. Other crops that bear above ground, such as greens, tomatoes, peppers and squash, are started during the waxing moon, as well. Despite the weather, it is still too early to start peppers and squash from seed, but we'll get some mid-season tomatoes going. Early tomato seeds were started on March 10, along with mid-season lettuces. Needless to say, with the warmth they are going gangbusters.

Happy gardening, everyone!

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