On spring’s progress


Saved from the frost!

Things are proceeding apace this spring, despite the small fact that it’s been a very chilly season this year.  I occasionally listen to Chicago Public Radio and am always struck by how much warmer it is on that side of the lake:  Lake Michigan is cold, see, and casts us still in its chilly embrace.  This “lake effect” is responsible for our humongo snowload, as well as our cool springs and summers; on the flipside, we’ve got warm falls and winters (comparatively speaking, of course).  I just have to hold on and keep wearing warm clothes.

I have not been tempted to put anything into the ground in the gardens yet.  “Anything” means anything leafy, actually; there are peas and favas growing greenly outside.  I also have some onion plants that I set out in a fit of madness.  Last night, I expected one of our last remaining killing frosts.  Blankets over those new asparagus stalks:  I didn’t want to lose our first potential harvest.

So, I have simply settled for the dirt of the greenhouses.  There’s so much growing in there for both our use and for the school garden that I am not tempted to rush the outdoor gardens at all.

12 responses to “On spring’s progress

  1. I am glad to read this post. Having started my first garden this year I have not really known what to expect. I’ve planted some seeds of cold-hardy crops outside (spinach, turnips, lettuce snap peas) and have not seen much action. There are some tiny sprouts but I would say at least 50% of them haven’t come up yet. I was getting worried but it occurred to me to wonder whether the cold weather was slowing things down.

    I love your words about the lake effect. Living in the shadow of our Great Lake is one of my greatest joys, lake effect weather and all.

  2. Having just started my asparagus beds this month, I am jealous, El! I loaded them up with what seemed like a ton of compost, and mulched well. I also used some mycorrhizal dip for them. I am hoping to see above average results this year. Perhaps then I’ll feel we can sneak a few more than recommended next year. Sigh. I know, intellectually, the value of perennials. But that doesn’t make me any more patient, especially not for my own asparagus!

  3. …. warmer on this side of the lake?!?! Really?? Although I agree: it’s been a cold spring.

  4. Your asparagus are lovely and I adore your chick picture:-).

  5. The snow belts on the great lakes were always a mysterious thing to me.Why some areas seem to get much larger amounts of snow than others in areas not far apart.Easier to explain is my brothers place on Lake Tahoe.Since he is on the east shore a storm system usually has to come over the mountain range on the west side first.So a lot of moisture is dropped on that side and sometimes in August I can look across the lake and see snow yet on the high western peaks.It’s also the only place I have seen a snow thunderstorm which is truly cool to watch.

  6. Phew, glad things are okay. The weather has been crazy here too, with very warm days (80s today and weekend!) but still getting on the cool side at night. All that I have put in the ground is lettuces/greens, but the strawberries and blueberry plants went out last weekend, so I’m hoping they are hanging in there.
    So interesting about the lake effect, like John, it has always been a big mystery to me…. but having that cooler weather for longer makes more impatience for the gardener!

  7. settling down for the dirt in the hoop house! oh well… we all have to make do, eh?

    It’s been a cool spring here too in the Northern Piedmont – which has been quite all right with me. Asparagus growth looks about the same as yours. We are eating modestly from them at the moment, waiting for the May flush. We do have 80+ weather forecasted for the next few days though…

    (I planted three experimental robust tomato seedling in a cold frame. We’ll see.)

  8. Box #1 is on it’s way.
    Ah lake effect; it’s gonna be 30º/17º warmer here today than yesterday.

  9. I just spend the evening picking asparagus. What lovely bringers of food eating spring! I can eat asparagus in any way or form, but my husband can’t he just picks at them. Oh well. More for me.


  10. Jen, well, after this weekend I bet the other 50% of your sprouts are up!! Yay. What a little blast of summer we just had. It can go away now. 🙂

    Kate, I just planted more so now we’re again in the waiting game. It’s kind of a bummer but the payoff is worth it. I find it best to simply ignore perennials. That’s the way I work with my flowers, especially!!

    Angie, so you agree, it’s been a miserably chilly spring. But yeah the announcer said it was 60* when on our side of the lake it was 45* so I thought her observation was salt in the wound…

    Aw, thanks, Thyhand!

    John, my childish understanding is cold fronts moving over a warm-ish body of water mean the lee side gets dumped on with either rain or snow. We get both. It’s just what happens! But a snow thunderstorm: that would be interesting….

    MC, the upside of cool springs are a longer lettuce season so I am not so very unhappy by it all. We had some wacky weather lately too; it was kind of strange!

    Sylvie, we had our first asparagus binge on Saturday. YUM. We had that same weather: we had some wild thunderstorms too but the plants are all happy. And I can work in the greenhouses when it rains so I was happy too!

    Yay Marcy! (So happy.) I hate those huge temperature jumps, don’t you? It was funny watching the geese pant though. Poor things.

    Linda don’t you love it when your family members dislike something you love? You should see me with beets around here…

  11. El, Thats what I was taught about the Great Lakes also but I mentioned it because on Lake Ontario at the southeast end is Oswego and from there up to Watertown there is usually a large difference in snowfall from the nearby area even though the storm systems have moved across the lake. On a gardening note I saw a blurb on LA tv today about container gardening and the guy put eartworms in the soil and then ladybugs but he covered the pots and young plants with netting so the ladybugs laid eggs.I bought a big container of ladybugs several years ago for my patio garden and within a few days all had vanished.I like the idea of netting at first to keep the squirells at bay also.

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