Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vegetable: Preparing For an Early Crop

Regrettably I didn't grow many perennials last year. Being a renter, and not a home-owner, means you don't necessarily know what your living situation will be every year. Not knowing where I will be from year to year prompted me to resist planting perennials, and particularly plants that you have to wait several seasons before a nice crop appears. So this spring I will look on with envy as farmers arrive at the markets with asparagus and strawberry and other delicious seasonal treats.

Without these first signs of the growing season in our garden, I have been increasingly eager to get something sprouting that we can enjoy fresh from the yard. The beautifully deceiving weather that we have had recently has increased my impatience to start working in the garden. The only thing that has been holding me back are Franka's warnings that these deceptively warm days are followed by cool nights, that often bring a frost. Franka tells me that if I were to plant my seedlings now they would rot and die. She stresses that I need to maintain my patience, and wait until the Victoria Day long weekend to transplant the seedlings into the ground.

Feeling dejected I had come to the conclusion that I would have to be satisfied with the seedlings in the living room, until I received an email. The Stop Community Food Centre sends out a "Gardening Tip of the Month" in its monthly newsletter. For the month of April the tip is to plant crops that are resistant to frost, and will actual grow best in cool temperatures. These are crops such as spinach, arugula and radishes. Having received this tip we wasted no time in getting outside and double digging the soil in the front yard. The front yard faces the morning sun and so will provide the best environment for early crops to grow. Unable to wait for nice weather, Chris and I flipped the soil in the rain and cold. While digging we received several warnings from neighborhood Nonna's that we should go inside unless we want to catch a cold. Despite the warnings we dug on and were able to plant seeds once the rain passed, and now have spinach, lettuces and radishes beginning to sprout in the front yard.

The backyard is much bigger and required a few more hands, a case of beer and some nice weather.

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