January 12th, 2009

Winter's Here. Summer's Coming!

bio_billThe temperature dipped below freezing about midnight on Sunday and stayed thereabouts until late morning. While not cold enough to cause any damage to the cold tolerant plants that are growing this time of year, the heavy frost put harvesting out of the question.

The sun pleasantly warmed my back as I worked yet seemed to not be doing the same for the ice covered veggies. Rather than risk damage to the frosty produce, I turned my attention to the empty beds in the garden. Today I transplanted over 300 Belstar broccoli plants out of the greenhouse into soil moistened by about an inch of rain over the holidays. About 600 cabbage and Napa cabbage went in just before Christmas and I expect I’ll be transplanting again in the morning.

As the flats going into the garden make room in the little greenhouse I’ll be refilling them with another succession for late spring harvest. And right on the heels of the last cool weather veggies it’s nearly time to start the first seeds of summer crops.

Last January I started with slow-growing eggplants and peppers. Using a heat mat at home to sprout the seeds measurably increased my success and each started flat was then moved into the cold greenhouse to grow out until early spring.

While my friends who garden in colder climates can only dream of summer veggies this time of year, I’m ready with seeds on hand. Here in Central California summer is always just around the corner. When the first hot spell burns up the lettuce and spinach and sends turnips and cabbage bolting it’s good to have tomatoes already on the vines.

Sure it seems crazy to think about tomatoes with such a chill in the air, but summer’s coming!

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