Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reasons to Love Our Weird Spring Weather This Year

OK, I admit I'm getting a little grouchy, and perhaps a bit disoriented. I saw ripe raspberries at the community garden the other day and commented that I thought of raspberries more as a summer fruit. "But Strata," someone replied, "it's almost June!" Oh yeah. Easy to forget when you have 61F days and 45F nights!

I always try to find a silver lining in the clouds, and came up with a short list of why I could love our weird spring weather. Now I feel much more cheerful about it!

  • Cool-weather crops are lingering longer! My peas have usually succumbed to powdery mildew by now, and yet they are still going strong, with new flowers and lots of delicious snap-pea pods. Lettuces are slow to bolt, and my spinach is bolting in slow-motion, so that I can harvest a bunch of tasty leaves. I can live with that!

  • Rain makes seeds happy. While they might prefer some warmer soil, seeds seem to grow best when they are rained on and there is good humidity in the air. Well, this week and some of last week seems tailor-made for seed germination. I'm going to put out some more pole beans and start some flats of bush beans outside on a patio table. Wish me luck!

  • There's more planning time. Some of us might feel this is frustrating, rather than useful. I'm trying to get over it. Since it's still too cold to put a number of warm-weather things out, I find myself thinking harder about what to plant, and being able to stick more closely to my garden plan. That's a feature!

  • Recovering from bad seed starts. Also since it's still pretty chilly for eggplants and peppers and the like, I am able to replant my pasillo baijo peppers. The first time, I planted from saved seed that didn't germinate (too much watering from the bottom). The second time, they were eaten by rogue greenhouse snails or slugs when barely emergent. The third time they fell over, burned down, AND sank into the swamp, err, were eaten JUST as they were getting big enough to transplant from six-pack to four-inch pots. I have reseeded. I can be patient. I also am growing out a Rosa Bianca, since I lost the label on one eggplant and really want a Rosa rather than another kind. La la la, I tell myself, it's not a bug, it's a feature! Even though I'm jonesing to get stuff in the ground outdoors!

  • Growing out our weed seeds early, so we can mulch. The rainy weather is encouraging the growth of weed seeds, so maybe we can get them all done (ha! hahaha!) and pulled up for the summer. So this one is kind of a stretch, I'm reaching here.

  • It's a great wildflower year! The frequent rain is bringing out all kinds of wildflowers that are usually sparse, and prolonging the season on many of the standard kinds. Roadsides and garden edgings are spectacular with flowers.

We might prefer some sunny 73 degree days out here in the South Bay, but at least we can try to appreciate some features of the days we're getting instead. Happy gardening!



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