Wrong again!

Yesterday I checked the 10-day forecast (as I always do) and beyond a slightly chilly night, the forecast was for dry and sunny and tah-dah!!! three days in a row above 40 degrees!  So, I bundled up (these old bones get cold even in the 40’s now) and loaded up the golf cart with braids of shallots, onion sets, pea seeds and a big mug of tea.  “I’m PLANTING!  I’m digging in the dirt!”  My heart was singing.  It felt glorious, and eventually as I worked I was able to shed the jacket, sock cap, scarf and gloves.  First I moved all the flats out of the greenhouse for some hardening off.  It was a perfect day for it since there was no wind at all (a welcome change!)  Now for some fun!  I began with shallots, clipping the singles from the braids to plant first.  Shallot size comparison compressed  I’ve found that the singles (on the left) perform best.  They usually make 4-8 lovely large shallots.  So, over the winter the large doubles & triples like the one on the right are chosen first for cooking, but there’s a majority of them and never enough singles.  Once all the singles are planted, I’ll choose the smaller doubles, and if more are needed to complete the patterns some of the larger doubles will be carefully divided.  If I plant the big doubles without dividing them, the result is a bunch of crowded, poor-looking shallots that tend to sprout rather than store well.  Plant Dutch shallots like these just so the shoulders are covered in rows 6″ apart and 6″ apart within the rows.  If you are growing the longer, frog-leg shallots allow more room.  This year, the potager’s pattern is diagonals, so I planted two rows in the centers of most of the small beds, matching the diagonal rows of garlic in the large beds.  Shallots just planted compressed  Only half the shallots were planted, just in case the weather experts are wrong.  Next were shelling peas.  The original plan for succession had to be modified a bit, since the first planting was optimistically scheduled for March 7.  It was already April 8th, and this LATE some of the first plantings that must be harvested and removed to make space for cucumbers and miniature melons had to be skipped.  If worse comes to worse, frozen peas can be purchased but mini melons cannot (at least in our area.)  Some large bed edges were planted with “Strike,” a short, very early pea that I’m growing for the first time to compare with the old stand-by “Little Marvel.”  No photo of those.  But here is thePea seed & fence compressed “Green Arrow” and “Knight” comparison which will take place on the newly-purchased pea fence.  No clue why it looks “Blue” in the photo because it’s just gray metal, not colored.  You can see that I plant peas in a broad (3″) band rather than a single row because that’s just what works best in my experience.  Peas planted compressed  I plant thick, but not touching.  The last thing to go in were 4 rows of yellow onion sets, and when they were covered the sun had disappeared, all my warm layers were back on, and my winter-lazy muscles were saying it was time to stop.  Still, I was humming and thinking that I needn’t push too hard.  After all, there were two more beautiful days in the forecast…plenty of time to do the next items on the list.  And then I woke to this:Snow on thicket  This definitely was not in their forecast.  Wrong again!

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About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
This entry was posted in planting, Spring, Uncategorized, vegetable gardening, weather and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Wrong again!

  1. zipcoffelt says:

    I didn’t plant shallots this year but garlic, and I’m afraid it’s kaput. Weird weather we’re having here in Kansas.

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    • carolee says:

      Did you plant garlic in spring or fall? Garlic is one of the toughest, except for drought. I found a few garlic cloves that I apparently dropped in the paths when I planted last fall and they had actually rooted into the mulch and were growing leaves even though the clove was totally exposed to our below zero temperatures and terrible winter. Kansas isn’t that different from northern Indiana, is it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • zipcoffelt says:

        I’ve always had best luck planting in the fall. Even after a hard winter, the bulbs sprout and I usually get a good harvest. Not this year. Not enough water, maybe, although we do water when we’ve had no precipitation. Or maybe too cold followed by too warm. We’ve had one of those up and down winters. And yes, you’d think Indiana and Kansas would be similar.

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      • carolee says:

        Interesting. Is there nothing there at all? Did they rot? Did something eat them? You could replant with some soft neck garlic just to have something to eat…..I’ve grown it and it’s ok but just doesn’t have that great flavor and the cloves are so dang small it’s irritating to anyone who’s grown the hard necks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • zipcoffelt says:

        Looks like I have three plants growing. The bed doesn’t look like an animal disturbed it. Good suggestion about some soft neck garlic. Or I might just buy from the Farmers market.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh! You inspire me! I told my husband that if Carolee can work in her garden in 40 degree temps, I am going to work in my garden for at least an hour in our 60 and 70 degree spring temps – you inspire me 😊

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    • carolee says:

      Happy to provide inspiration. I’m not working in the snow or rain anymore though now that I’m old…and wise! I’m puzzled that anyone would NOT be in their garden if it were 60, unless you have something more exciting to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. cavershamjj says:

    Oh no! Will that snow mess up your plantings?

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    • carolee says:

      Everything should be fine. I covered the shallots a bit deeper, thinking the fluffy soil will settle with the next rain, so they should be protected and the peas can take cold weather. It’s just frustrating because I thought I would be planting today and moving more plants to the greenhouse to make space to transplant tomatoes. Foiled again!

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  4. jennerjahn says:

    I loved all that information about planting shallots.

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  5. Margy says:

    Interesting how you plant your shallots crosswise. Is there a special reason for that? – Margy

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    • carolee says:

      Crosswise, meaning diagonal? The first year I did a lot of “blocks” and thought the potager looked okay but a bit dull and all those short rows meant less growing space mathematically. So, last year I did mostly 6′ horizontal rows, which worked fine, but was a bit boring. So, this year, I’m doing diagonals with the longest rows being things we use lots, and the shorter rows and triangles planted with “in and out” things like greens…or flowers.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. curioussteph says:

    snow this morning here, too. My shallots were planted two weeks ago. We shall see. Sugar snap peas and spinach are seeming happy.

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  7. bcparkison says:

    Just be glad you don’t work for the weather forecasters. How they keep their wits is beyond me. They are hardly ever right any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry to hear you got snow again! There is no snow here, just continuous rain. It is impossible to do any gardening/allotment work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Island Time says:

    I gasped when I saw all that snow on top of your freshly planted spring things!! Hope it disappears quickly for you so you can get on with the rest….nice day here today, windy, but sunny, so off I go to muck about in the veg patch! Digging is on the agenda.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. March Picker says:

    Oh, I’m inspired by your fortitude…. and those diagonals! May need some here.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I enjoyed reading all your information about planting in that impressive potager. I’ve followed your blog and look forward to seeing how the plants develop. I hope you don’t have any more snow, although it looks very pretty to me!

    Liked by 1 person

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