A chill wind

tomato seedlingsWe’re currently experiencing the weather that your local nursery professionals warned you about. We haven’t had a frost here but I’m still glad that our tender plants are still safely tucked up in the greenhouse. The wind over Saturday night was fierce and brought distinctly April-like (a true April, not like the April we just had) temperatures with it. And those temperatures are here to stay for the next few days. There may be a little residual warmth left in the soil from the last few weeks but such chilly nights will likely set it back a bit again.

View of the vegetable garden through the new Metasequoia hedgeJust like most of you, we’re anxious to plant the vegetable garden. We’re even itchier to get into the garden than usual because it was recently redesigned. Blithewold’s director of horticulture, Fred and his able assistant Dan have given Dick, our vegetable gardener extraordinaire, four large quadrants to plant in. They even built an adorable log cabin support for a super abundance of pole beans. (We might just make up for giving them all to the deer last year.) The whole garden is fenced against the deer (though not against a hapless neighborhood pooch who will hopefully remember that it’s there the next time she takes off running. Then again, she is a lab…) and perhaps as soon as the beans go in, the garden’s gates will too. We’ll have to be careful to lock the woodchuck and rabbits out rather than in…

the log cabin, and lettuce planted in spokesGail and I have commandeered the center of the garden – we couldn’t help ourselves – and have plans for spokes of flowers – millions of nasturtiums (dozens anyway) – and some of our favorite ornamental vegetables. We also want to do a little experimenting with companion planting and Dick is game to try it too. Do beans really hate onions? Will aphids go for nasturtiums over broccoli? Why would peas love carrots? Have you noticed any particular successes or failures with companion planting in your garden?

the propagation house filled to the gills with seedlings.Our tomatoes and basil (they are reputedly good partners, not just in salads) are growing on inside the greenhouse. The only things that we have planted out so far are the cool season crops – like peas – and our sweet peas, spinach, lettuce and cabbage. Artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower and kale are hardening off and waiting in the wings for another planting session with the volunteers this week.

Are you being set back by the weather or pushed forward? Are you planning and planting anything new and different in your vegetable garden this year?

5 thoughts on “A chill wind

  1. As predicted, the one tomato plant I planted out early got nipped by frost and has been set back, despite row covers. The basil has been fine under cloche protection.

    Lesson learned.

    Ugh. I hate learning lessons the hard way, don’t you? -kris

  2. I can’t wait to see the results of your companion planting experiments!

    And yes… I’ve been warning people about these kinds of days at work. Last night there was a hard freeze watch/warning, and I finally had to tell one guy that it didn’t matter how many different ways he worded the question, a hard freeze was not the same thing as “a touch of frost,” either in severity or in how you deal with it. :)

    Kim, I had to chuckle… This is just Mother Nature’s way of reminding some of us that we’re not in control. Not by a long shot. -kris

  3. I love the new vegetable garden and Fred and Dan are such talents with their imaginative gizmos. I found that calendula worked well in the vegetable garden. Frost here this morning and the tomato plants are still tucked safely in the basement under the lights. Another two weeks before they go into the garden. I too will be waiting for your companion planting data.

    Layanee, We’ve got calendula ready and waiting for the ready-set-go planting day! -kris

  4. By the way, you should post on how your soil blocking is going.

    Susan, I’m planning on it! – When is Snafu Day again? Everyday? -kris

  5. I just checked my yard (in Ashaway). The edges of the leaves on my ‘Endless summer’ and lace cap hydrangeas are all brown and curled, as are the edges of the flowers on my snowball (?) viburnum. I’m surprised. My thermometer read 30F some time during the past week – which doesn’t seem all that cold. Maybe it was a combination of wind/cold/early leaf out. But on a positive note – I just harvested my first batch of lettuce (under a floating row cover)!

    Elaine, 30F is pretty cold and you might have had a touch of frost if the wind ever died down that night. That would have nipped those tender leaves and flowers… But there’s nothing better than spring greens! (I’m envious.) -kris

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