It is still early spring here in the North. I need to keep reminding myself of this fact. We’ve had some gorgeously warm days in the high 60s and low 70s over the past week or so, with evenings in the 40s. The local nurseries are bursting with beautifully colored annuals. The daffodils, early tulips and hyacinth are blooming and glittering in the sunlight. Young wildlife abounds – especially the small bunnies who insist on devouring my phlox and lilies!
And yet this morning I awoke to 33 degrees. The next two nights are flirting with freezing temperatures. I know I should be used to this after 5 years of gardening in North Country, but it riles me a bit every time. Why? Because once we have that first week of consistently warm temperatures, no matter how many times I tell myself not to put plants out prematurely, I inevitably do so.
I’ve been a little more disciplined this year, but I did go out to my local nursery on Friday after work and picked up a car load of annuals for my containers. I spent yesterday afternoon beginning the process of sorting and combining colors and varieties into pleasing combinations and potting them into containers. I then sat them outside (I was working in the barn) to water and let them get some sun, even though we had gale force winds yesterday and it never warmed much past 40 degrees. Of course, knowing that cold temps were due last night, and will be again tonight and tomorrow, they were brought back into the barn and house for the overnight. So this process of bringing scores of containers and flats out from inside, and watering everything, will now add another 20-30 minutes to my morning “before work” routine. Thankfully I get up at 5am!
In my anxious anticipation to get going in the garden, I’ve also begun to harden off some of the annuals and herbs that have been growing inside over the past month or so. The remaining cauliflower, some Brussel sprouts, leeks and dill transplants, as well as three kinds of potatoes, were planted on Saturday.
But it appears I need to exercise a bit more patience before any of the more tender annuals and perennials go in the ground. Hopefully I’m up to the challenge.