|This is what I'm dreaming of.|
In my neck of the woods, early gardening is traditionally started on or about St. Patrick's Day. Every year, I do many google searches looking for just the right time to start planting. Every year, I plan for a certain date to start. It always winds up being somewhere around March 17. So far I haven't had any problems or any casualties due to cold weather snaps that I can remember. That may be due to Winter Gardener's Amnesia but it's more likely because I only plant what I consider to be the 'safe' seeds or bulbs that not only tolerate cold conditions, but actually thrive in them. This is what I've planted so far:
- Sugar snap peas. Pretty much my entire garden plan starts with where to put the sugar snaps. Last year I got them in much later than I wanted to due to a late start building my raised beds. But, I still had a pretty good crop. This year, I'm a full month earlier and according to my county extension office, that should be fine. I have another packet of seed ready just in case. If the first planting does well, I will try for a fall crop of peas.
- Spinach 'Bloomsdale Longstanding.' My GOD how I love a spinach salad. It's only made better by eating spinach I grew myself. A little olive oil, some red wine vinegar and a sprinkle of bacon bits on a big bed of fresh baby spinach makes my favorite salad.
- 'French Breakfast' radishes. Radishes are a 'maybe' crop for me. If they turn out too hot, I can't eat them. But I read this year that if breakfast radishes are grown in cool weather, they are much sweeter. So I put them in my first round planting line-up.
- Red, white and yellow onions. I have no idea what the varieties are for these. They are the generic onion sets from my local, big box garden center. I rarely buy a specific cultivar of onion sets since these generic varieties always do well enough to give us more onions than we can possibly use up fresh however small they might be. I've read that onions are heavy feeders so I'll be fertilizing them more this year to see if that helps them grow bigger.
- Shallots. I sort of got these on a whim. I grew them once before a long time ago and I just don't remember how they did. This is another experimental crop for this year.
- Garlic! I've NEVER grown garlic before. I got a pack of 4 bulbs and followed the directions on the package. I wound up with 48 cloves. If I get half that many bulbs, it will be way too much. I found this interesting fact sheet from the UNL Extension office. They'll get a dose of fertilizer the same time as the onions do. It seems that garlic will do better if it is planted in October. Funny thing is I've never seen garlic bulbs for sale in a garden center in the fall with the tulips and daffodils. Odd.