Game Called on Account of Rain

Although it is much warmer this weekend that it has been — dare I suggest that winter has finally loosened its grip? — we weren't able to make much headway out in the garden. It just would be too much to hope for to jump right into a sunny, 60 degree stretch of days, right? We're squarely in the midst of some cold, soaking rain.

Not that I'm complaining. After all, it's not snow. The rain has washed away almost all of our last bits of the white stuff, and I imagine the rest will be gone by Monday. Things are starting to thaw, and the soaking rains will definitely help bring things back to life as we ring in April.

We did manage to get our week's worth of sap boiled and also opened up the cold frames to catch some of that free water falling from the sky (before closing them up again to protect delicate seedling and as-yet unsprouted seeds from the downpours we're meant to get over night and tomorrow).

Still, we had to give up on our planned planting of peas and potatoes this weekend.

This is less because of the rain and more because of the fact that the ground is still largely unworkable. It's been so cold for so long that there are still many garden beds that are partially frozen. I can get a shovel into the first couple inches, but then I hit frozen dirt.

Some beds are fine (especially ones that have been protected under a cold frame or greenhouse tunnel all winter), but of course the ones we want to plant peas and potatoes in aren't thawed out yet.

That's probably just as well. I think those patches of still-frozen soil are saving us from our over-zealous selves. If we plant peas and potatoes too early, they can probably handle the cold, but they could well rot in overly wet garden beds.

Since the calendar dates clearly aren't always a reliable way to gauge planting times, I am glad to have a new garden reference book as a companion to our personal planting plan:

That's Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th Century Methods for Today's Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene. Even though Williamsburg gardeners are in much warmer territory than we are, this book offers planting times that are based on environmental observations. For example, it suggests that peas should be planted "as early as the soil can be worked" (nope) and "after the first crocus blooms." Behold the state of our crocuses:

So … nope. We just aren't ready here in New England yet, and there's no point trying to force it. 

I shifted our potato and pea planting dates to next weekend (April 5) on our official plan. (Note: this was bound to happen at some point anyway, since the calendar date backs up by one day each year to keep planting dates on a Saturday. You can't keeping making it earlier and earlier ad infinitum, so this year's as a good a time as any to bump some planting dates back into warmer territory). I'm not saying I'm ready to give up on all of our schedule for the season yet, but we'll play it by ear each week.

Hopefully a week of getting into the 50s will soften the ground and we'll be good to go next Saturday.

C'mon, Spring, let's go! We're ready!


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