The Glory Has Departed


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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Aiming at the Cold Loving Crops - Carrots, Lettuce, Spinach, Garlic

Some pooh-pooh companion gardening,
but I believe it works, since opposites tend to team up.

Gurney's Seed Catalog sends me daily emails, as the other gardening suppliers. 

The daily message is - get ready for planting the cold tolerant seeds. Some tolerate a little frost. Others get better, when mature, after a frost. Carrots fit both categories. They grow for two years, so they can remain in the ground all winter and get sweeter from the cold (normally protected by straw bales on top). That sounds like a lot of extra work, so the old Adam or inner Maynard G. Krebs rebels.

Nevertheless, carrots are an ideal crop for the gardener, even the beginner. My favorite brand is - fresh from the garden. They are pretty good from the produce section of the stores, but they get old too fast in the icebox. Pulled from the soil and washed off, they are crunchy, sweet, and fun to eat. The aromatic greens add to the enjoyment. 

Rabbits like the greens, not the carrot, a fact destroyed by Bugs Bunny and his ever-present carrot.

Carrots are also fun because thinning means eating. Now many plants can be harvested and enjoyed when young - corn, berries, sunflowers, peas (sorta), pumpkins? But miniature carrots are fun to eat when thinning the row. If they come out relatively clean, eat them on the spot. If you are blessed with clay soil, wash them under the faucet for an hour, then take them inside and wash them again, then enjoy them. 




Spinach and peas can be planted at the same time, very early. I have heard of peas planted in late fall. I planted the spinach crop in late fall and expect to see it really growing in March, perhaps in February if we keep getting warm weather.

Frost experience is key to a gardener's understanding. The first to die from a frost are the egg plants and tomatoes, both nightshades. Pumpkins cease their efforts at world domination from the first heavy frost.

Those frost-killed items are plants we save for later efforts in the season..

The plants that  love cold and thrive in it are going to be relatively bug free if planted before the last frost. This year  I am pushing the frost limits as much as possible, since early planting will be greatly rewarded later. I can get several crops fruiting in succession and get more growth from long-term heavy feeders like pumpkins and gourds.