A Gardener’s Diary: Spring is blooming

There are some cool weather crops that can be planted in the spring, just as soon as it is warm enough to work the ground.

With the first day of spring came the opening of my first daffodil.

The tulips have been blooming almost two weeks now. Looks like the very cold nights are gone and it is time to start planting and transplanting.

Somehow one of the snapdragons against the house never saw winter going by. It has rewarded me with an early bud. The plant looks like it is in the middle of June.

The rain barrels are already filled up and I didn’t have to use one drop of the tap water for all my plants in the house from the time they came in until now.

The snow is gone and the soil is dry enough in most locations to work it. I was able to rototill a space already and it didn’t stick to the tines even with some clay. The sod had been turned over last fall and bags of grass clippings and some shredded leaves left on top over the winter months. This new spot is ready to plant now.

There are some cool weather crops that can be planted in the spring, just as soon as it is warm enough to work the ground. These crops include arugula, beets, carrots, mache, mustard, onions from sets, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, salsify, spinach and turnips. You can start inside: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, endive, leek, lettuce, pepper, and tomato seeds. As soon as they have germinated and show their heads, they can be moved under fluorescent lights or south facing windows and moved outside for short periods when weather permits.

I have pre-germinated peas and broad beans and they are growing in the greenhouse ready to transplant in another week or so. Same thing with spinach, kale and lettuce. I have to wait until they are tall enough so the quail won’t feast on them.

This is one of the reasons I transplant everything. Sometimes I also use the black trays to cover the new area that has been planted, such as carrots and parsnips.

I tried to transplant these before, but they start to look like octopuses with their many arms and legs. These are the trays you carry plants in and they have enough opened space at the bottom to let the rain and sun go through. Turned upside down, they give height for the plants to grow and be protected from the birds.

If you have the space, it sure pays to have a cold frame. We are eating lettuce that spent the winter in there. The other two cold frames, where I had potted perennials, will be emptied this week and I will be putting cold tolerant plants in them.

I am cutting my geraniums this week and will be putting them in the greenhouse or outside during the day but they have to come back in for the nights. Canna lilies can also be started. Mine came up in February because it was too warm in the basement for them. Even the dahlia tubers have started to grow. Some of them I will pot up for an early start.

More seeds are available at S.E.N.S. Seed/Plant Swap/Sale and annual general meeting Thursday at the Schubert Centre at 6:30 p.m.

– Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan and member of Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club. Her column appears every other Wednesday.



Vernon Morning Star