The sun was shining, the snow was melting, the soil was warming...and I went a little nutty planting things.
I'll start with the least nutty part --- transplanting week-old pea seedlings.
I've never tried starting peas inside before, and from various
anecdotes on the internet it sounds like it's best to set them out as
early as possible. Originally, I'd planned on keeping them inside for
two weeks, but at a mere seven days the tap roots were already butting
up against the bottom of the container. So I set the seedlings out
inside a quick hoop where I'd used both plastic and row-cover fabric to preheat the soil. (In case you're curious, the combination gave me about a three-degree bonus over either layer alone.)
Moving down the line to
slightly nuttier behavior, I next set out a flat of week-old baby kale
and lettuce that was mostly still at the cotyledon stage. I wouldn't
have even considered this if I wasn't able to put the seedlings directly
under quick hoops and to promise them a one-week grace period before
winter returns. Still, the babies looked awfully tender out there in the
winter dirt, and I'm not so sure they'll make it.
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To hedge my bets, I set
them out in three locations --- in the back garden where I'd been
preheating soil for a while but where the ground was soggy wet, in the
mule garden where I hadn't been preheating but where the sun had been
shining hard on moist ground, and up against the west face of the
trailer where the ground was actually a little too dry due to resting
under the eaves. (I watered that last area lightly after planting.) Even
if most of the crop fails, the experiment will be handy for pinpointing
which zones are best for really pushing the spring envelope, so the
seedlings' sacrifices won't have been in vain.
Speaking of pushing the
spring envelope, I concluded my Friday craziness by moving a quick hoop
off barely alive kale and onto dormant Galleta strawberries.
The Galletas are already supposed to be an ultra-early variety, so I'm
hopeful that a little soil preheating will net us homegrown fruit in
early May...or maybe we'll just end up with early, frost-nipped blooms
despite the row-cover fabric. Only time will tell.
(I know I didn't take
enough photos to match the words in this post. Did I mention I was a
little sun-crazed?! I'll do better next time.)