Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The snow is almost gone

Woohoo! There is rain in the forecast, which should take care of the last of the snow. Not that we've had a lot this winter. None at all until January (which made for a drab looking Christmas). But this last dumping has been persistent. It is my sincere hope that we have seen the last snowfall of the year.

Winter weather can be odd here. A few years back, only half an hour or so away, there was a freak snow storm in mid-October that crippled a town. It was massive, sudden and a total shock. At the other end of the spectrum, I've seen light snow in early June. Actually, I've seen it on Labour Day, too. So the only months when I've never seen snow are July and August. Then there was the year that my husband began gardening in early March, and it never did turn cold again until the next winter. By mid-April we were chomping at the bit to plant, but nothing was in the nurseries until May.

We finally got to plant some bulbs last Autumn. Our last house had dozens, of all varieties. For now we only have tulips here, I think. Maybe a few daffodils, but I don't think so. Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing them poking up out of the garden. We need to get some crocus bulbs and snowdrops for next year.

I've been planning the vegetable garden, too. Lemon cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, beans, chard, radishes, golden beets, lettuces and Chinese greens... We are really looking forward to getting going on all of it. And herbs. Each year I grow Thai Basil, which I adore. I hope my Cotton Candy mint survived the winter. Ditto the parsley and chives. I know the lemon thyme did. I picked some the other day. Such a hardy little plant! The Greek oregano I bought last year wasn't a favourite. I think I'll go back to Italian varieties. I found this particular Greek strain (Kaliteri?) to be too astringent and soapy.

The learning curve is daunting. We're trying a new approach, using a grid to plant in. It will help me tremendously. I suck at proper plant spacing (as I'm sure I'll see evidence of yet again when I see our garlic sprouts). And I've never been good at successive planting. I tend to plant a row, and then have too much at once to deal with. This grid method will hopefully help with that too. We have to construct a few net structures for things like the cukes and tomatoes, so that they grow vertically. Must remember to ask Linda at the Tree and Twig about indeterminate tomato varieties. This is all so new to me.

Even still, it is worth it. There is something so satisfying about walking out into the garden and picking the night's salad. Or enjoying "yard snacks" of beans and raspberries and cherry tomatoes with the kids. Watching them just wander over to a bush and take something and eat it makes me so happy (not that it's a fight to get our kids to eat veggies anyway, thankfully).

I wonder if we'll do potatoes this year? We'd wanted to last year, but didn't have a place for them. Must read some more. I'd love go grow them.

So today I dream. The temps will be around 10C, but very damp. And then comes the rain. Hopefully we won't see it get cold again. I've started to get used to the sunshine and having an open window again.

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