Not Gardening

April 19th, 2011

It has been a long time since I’ve posted anything, I didn’t want people to think this blog is abandoned or anything, but, by nature, gardening blogs are largely seasonal. I’m not so lucky to live in Florida where I can garden year round, or near enough as makes no difference.

I haven’t been able to do much gardening this year. We had really cold weather, then in mid March a surprise warm up, short lived, but it was enough to get my first blooms up, crocuses. March 17th. In 2010 these exact crocuses were also my first flower of the year, on March 16th. The previous year the first flower was one day earlier yet again, March 15th, though a different clump. Obviously the world is getting colder or something. That is eerily consistent.

Since that brief warm up it has been more cold, more, ran, more cold. Yesterday we had snow, and not a light snow, heavy, significant snow. Snow on April 18th. What is more, no tulips, no daffodils, no irises, not even close. A little hyacinth action I’ve seen but even the forsythia’s have only a minor yellow shade to their buds as of yet. We’re way behind so far.

Last year was a really horrible summer here. June was all cold and overcast and too much rain and not enough sun, July was okay, but then August was too much sun and not enough rain. We got a late start, again because of cold, and in fact I got no yield on my kiwi or my apricot because of a late frost zapping buds, grape yield was also almost nil. Now I fear it again as we again have a very cold Spring thus far. Though I hope things will change and we’ll get warmer than normal temperatures now, as a recompense.

However I cannot help thinking about coins. One might flip a coin 10 times and have it come up heads all 10 times and think to oneself that number 11 must come up tails, because it is due. But in fact statistically the chance of toss 11 being tails is the exact same as the chance of toss 1 being tails. The coin itself has no memory and cares not for any streak it may be on. So I fear it may be with the weather. I think we may be due some good weather, but I don’t know if mother nature cares about what we deserve.

So, I’ve done very little gardening, nothing really to write about, a little pruning mostly. I did do more limbing up of a spruce to free up a massive amount of square footage in my backyard, allowing for a larger deck and room for a playhouse for my kids. The spruce had provided some privacy though so I planted some “Green Giants” along the fence to eventually take over the screening job the spruce had been doing. I also planted a cute little weeping larch (like a weeping atlas cedar for northern climes, hardy to zone 3, but with green needles in contrast to blue on the atlas), I had ordered online when I thought the weather was turning (I was wrong, so now it has needle scorch – having been shipped to me from a warmer climate).

I haven’t even started any seeds, because doing so outside would be futile because of the weather, and doing so inside would be almost futile due to the kids and cats.

But I am still here, as is this blog, and I will find things to post about when we finally get some better weather.

7 Responses to “Not Gardening”

  1. Eirien  Says:

    I too live in a cold climate (Canada, eh!) and find it a little challenging to make gardening articles during the cold months.

    But there’s still lots to do. One can always write up tips and tutorials: Perhaps on different types of tools, favorites or best ways to sharpen them. Also, ideas for insect shelters (bees, butterflies, ladybugs, etc) and how to make them. Lots of ideas if one looks hard enough.^^

    Happy Spring!

  2. Tommy @ Vegetable Gardening Today  Says:

    I feel your pain when it comes to long wet springs. I live in SE Idaho at an elevation of 5000′. Our snow finally all melted last week and it has been raining almost every day. It can be a real downer for those of us with green thumbs and spring fever.

    Good luck this season.

  3. Herb  Says:

    In this article you mentioned the seasons are getting colder. Astronomers have recognized that we are currently experiencing a solar minimum which might explain what temperatures are lower in you region. In fact in an article I read some where it was stated the only other time we experienced a solar minimum of this magnitude was during the ice age and in fact it’s our polluting life style that’s saving us. Strangely though is that we here in the tropics are experiencing a phenomenal drought period and the temperature here is hotter than usual

  4. Rose  Says:

    Hi! I am just getting into gardening and really want to do an edible garden with my kids (6 and 1 1/2 year old…) I just stumbled upon your blog. You mentioned that you didn’t start seeds yet. Will you be sharing when you will be doing that and what plants you’ll be starting?


  5. Administrator  Says:

    Rose I’m not the type of blogger to give a day by day account of my exploits, but I see you’re also here in Michigan and so maybe are wondering what can do well here?

    Beets do well, one of the most popular varieties is called “detroit dark red” even. I like my beets roasted, 425 degrees for an hour, stirring once, with olive oil and salt. They aren’t a popular vegetable, but they’re good, good for you, and easy to grow here. You eat both the root, and you can use the tops (greens) in salads.

    Swiss chard, a beet relative, also grows very well for me, but it just produces tops (greens).

    Zucchini is a good easy plant to grow, especially with kids, you will get a lot of yield. Make sure you have a trove of recipes to cook with it, you will need them.

    Spinach is good for an early season crop. One of the things you can plant soon (Zucchini you’d want to wait until June, beets and swiss chard you can also plant soon). Spinach will be ready to harvest in June, with strawberries, so you can have spinach salad with strawberries (dusted with a little sugar in a bowl first) which is very yummy. If you don’t grow your own strawberries you can buy them at the store or at a farmer’s market.

    Corn is not a good idea for the home gardener unless you can dedicate a hundred square feet to it.

    You could do cabbage (plant now) but keep an eye out for slugs.

    Broccoli and cauliflower do not do. I also never have luck with peppers up here.

    In the fall you can plant kale.

    Carrots do well and are easy, just make sure you have very loose soil (raised beds are best).

    I know some people who like beans, mine always get eaten by beetles or rabbits or groundhogs.

    I also highly recommend planting butternut squash, or pumpkins. Plant these July 4th for a fall harvest (you can plant spinach, cabbage etc in a plot now, harvest in June, then July 4th, plant your winter squash in the same spot).

    For the ones I mentioned planting soon or now, you can start seeds indoors today on them, and aim to plant them outside mid may.

    Oh, and if you have the room (a space roughly 4×4 in the sun) plant a dwarf apple tree. It’ll take a couple years to get fruit, but it is worth it. I recommend a honeycrisp dwarf from

  6. Rosh  Says:

    Last year was a rough year for tomatoes (I also live in Michigan). This year my beats and believe it or not beans are having trouble.

    I always start planting in May.

    Good advice on the carrots.

    I do well with broccoli, I’m able to keep harvesting until well into November. Of course, I’m in South East Michigan verses Traverse City.

  7. Administrator  Says:

    My beets are crappy too, I can’t explain it. They won’t germinate, and if they do, they won’t grow.

    I’m in Lansing, by the way, not Traverse City.

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