Gardening in a Wet Spring

Western Sky at Sunrise – Sundog Farm

Whether or not we get a garden in this year the stakes are not high.

Much as I enjoy produce resulting from my labor, I could get along without it a for a year, or two, if I had to. We are part of a strong food ecology and unlikely to go hungry or want for fresh vegetables.

Eventually the ground will dry enough for planting and what has become a dozen trays of waiting seedlings will find a home. There have already been some successes: the kale looks great, radishes have been good, and the sugar snap peas will produce an abundance. I’ll do what I can, when I can, reflecting the position of most gardeners in my area.

The marker for end of spring is moving my vehicle back inside the garage. We are weeks away from that.

On Sunday I planted what will be the last tray of seedlings at the greenhouse. My work there wraps up at the end of June and already I am on every other week duties. Where did the first five months of 2019 go?

I planted,

Cilantro, Ferry — Morse, 45-75 days.
Imperial Broccoli, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, 71 days.
Genovese Basil, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, 68 days.

The Blue Wind broccoli planted earlier has been a disappointment with less than half of the seedlings planted now growing well. Blue Wind plays a role in larger operations as an early broccoli. We’ll see what it produces, but unless the heads are spectacular, it will be the last of this experiment. Late planting of Imperial will better serve our needs.

In other failures, tomatillos have done little. I may get one plant from the starts. Heirloom tomato starts were iffy, with a couple producing only one or two plants. Rosemary germinated, but growth hasn’t taken off. These failures combined with late, iffy planting take a toll. In the end it’s part of being a gardener.

I pulled apart last year’s tomato patch and mowed it flat. The plan is for cucumbers, peppers, squash, eggplant and sundry crops to go in there. The soil isn’t turned yet and won’t be until I get the previous plot planted.

While I’m struggling to get a garden in, larger scale conventional farmers are having a time of it. Spring rain has gone on so long some are debating whether to put in a crop at all. I posted a link to a story about the issue by Thomas Geyer in the Quad-City Times. My post made over 3,500 impressions on Twitter. Find the article here.

People who rely on their farms for a living have had a struggle of a spring. My friend Carmen at Sundog Farm wrote the following to her CSA members:

As I’m sure you’ve noticed there have not been very many windows of sunshine in between rainstorms over the past month and half, so we’ve been seizing every opportunity when its dry enough to get in the field to plant. Despite the limited opportunities and that planting sometime ends up looking more like wallowing in the mud, we’ve actually been pretty happy with our progress! We’ve also been grateful to have hoop houses where we’ve been producing most of the spring crops, and where we can plant even when it’s wet outside. We are a little behind in getting plants in the ground, but so far we are pretty close to where we want to be and hoping for the best!

Some seasons hoping for the best is what is possible.

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