I’m trying to decide whether it was the conditions of this past winter that made it such a challenge or was it the new name - polar vortex. I never had to use the snow blower, in spite of many storms some well exceeding 12″, because it was always so cold that the snow remained powdery and easy to shovel.
In the beginning we had periods of relief between vortexes but between February and most of March it was pretty much a deep freeze. I have such gratitude for wood heat and so much love for the wood stove that I had to restrain myself from giving it a big hug.
I walk the dogs three times a day for a total of about 2 hours, rain, shine and including those nasty PVs. I’m not big on brand name clothing, but there were many times that I did hug my Head Sokz, a fleece hood worn under all of the other layers. You want to stay warm? Think hands, feet, neck and head! The fleece hood takes care of the neck and head component. Two pairs of sox and cotton garden gloves inside of wool mittens takes care of the rest even in sub-farenheit-zero temperatures. I probably could have survived just wearing a bathing suit as long as those vital areas were well covered… well… maybe not.
Normally, I plant peas and some hardy winter crops right around March 15. Not this year! The deep February snows were basically turned into concrete masses by the cold and stubbornly held their positions, even turning their icy backs to St. Paddy’s day celebrations. I won’t allow power equipment into my gardens, so jack-hammering through ice and soil was out of the question.
I bought some starter soil in early March to get my tomatoes, etc. started and even that was frozen solid. So I got a late start, but finally set up a place in the house for my seedlings and planted about a week ago.
That’s the day when the internet weather promised a warming trend to begin. The days leading up to that change, however were back down in the single digits and the day before was nothing short of brutal with winds over 30 MPH with temps only in the low teens. It’s funny how personal weather can become and that day I would characterize as winter’s final sneer of disdain and perhaps, warning, aimed at the human condition.
It looks like we’re finally beyond all that and though not toasty yet we have remained pretty much above freezing and with several days of rain allowing the ground to finally begin to thaw out. Tomorrow I’m going to attempt to plant those peas, etc.
So today is a sunny, typically early April day, but what really shook the gardener in me awake was the new arrivals in my starter trays! This is now the third generation of saving my own seeds and the varieties I did save are coming through strong.
The word sustainable gets tossed around a lot and rightly so because that is how we should all be thinking at this point, but the idea that I can live out the rest of my life eating vegetables from my garden that I’ve grown from my own seed really gives that concept tangible meaning.
Happy gardening 2104, everyone!