Gardening in the ice and snow of Pennsylvania seems impossible until you try it in an unheated hoophouse. 2011 will be my third year of year-round gardening and this blog will be a journal and calendar of planting schedules, successes, failures and hopefully, a bountiful harvest.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
LATE PARSNIPS -- OR ARE THEY EARLY?
Spent the afternoon outside picking up branches brought down by the wind storm that we had the other day. Not only did I have a few wheel barrels full of sticks, but three huge poplars blew down too. They fell very loudly as the roots pulled up and the trees crashed down. Thankfully they were back in the woods and not a danger to anyone or anything. We'll have tons of firewood to cut and stack next fall. I also turned two more beds, trying to kill off the winter rye. I found some more parsnips that wintered over and will be great for a soup or stew. I shoveled in leaves and compost so that the beds are ready for planting in a few weeks. The garden is looking good and seems to be responding to the longer days and warmer sun. At last! The lettuce that was just seeded in the hoophouse is popping up and blanketing the soil. I transplanted some of the broccoli and Swiss chard seedlings that were started in the house. They had a good root system and should do well under cover. The hybrid tomato seeds that I was given are coming up but seem very spindly, so I sowed more cherry tomatoes, since that is the kind of tomato everybody wants. I also sowed marigold seeds to be planted im the vegetable garden and for some color up by the mail boxes. I noticed today that the compost bin is starting to cook, which is perfect since I've already started to shovel some into the garden. I might be jumping the gun with transplanting the Swiss chard snd broccoli into the hoophouse, but really, it all depends on the weather and the continuing trend of 40+ degree days. Today when I unzipped the hoophouse, it was actually 92 degrees in there! The soil is still in the 60s and perfect for cold weather crops, I never worry about the night time temps, mainly because I'm not about to go out there with a flashlight in the middle of the night. I guess I could buy one of those thermometers that give you the highest and lowest readings, but really, I'm OC enough about all of this!