Around here, we seem to forge ahead with spring earlier and earlier each spring. Some of that concerns our gradually warming climate and the rest to devices extending our growing season earlier in the spring. But while it is technically spring here in New England, you wouldn’t know it. Friends in more salubrious climates laugh when I say it’s spring. More like late winter, with a few warm days thrown in. OK, but you have to work with what nature gives you. This is why many of us resort to artifice to get a lead on the growing season.
I use fine spun fabrics like remay, low hoops covered with greenhouse plastic, classic cold frames, and the device you see in the photo. It’s a large plastic tub with a plastic greenhouse tub top. My wife bought it at one of the job lot discount stores. It did not work out for the purpose she had in mind, but I used to grow lettuce all spring and again all fall.
I’ve already started my early spring lettuce crop indoors, but yesterday I decided to push a bit and planted some seedlings into the plastic tub cold frame. After all, as usual, I had planted too many, and they’d only need thinning anyhow.
The lettuce is not the only thing out in the spring rain this morning; garlic is too. Specifically, this was the garlic that I had seeded two years ago. This year it should result in harvestable bulbs. The garlic planted from bulb sets last fall is just barely popping up. My wife will have much more garlic this fall than we can use. If things go as expected.
But as you know, let’s not count our garlic bulbs before we pull them. Anything could happen between now and August to wallop our expectations. Last spring started with poignant beauty, but a series of late frosts hit just as the fruit trees were flowering.
Every spring, I have at least one experiment. I don’t think the early lettuce is going to be it. I’ll have to come up with something really fringe for New England – sugar cane?
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