Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes! (and other musings)

It’s been a couple of weeks already since my last post. Where does the time go? Speaking of time, what a difference a year makes! Last year we were spoiled, and as is often the case with being spoiled there were some major consequences, at least as far as crops and gardens were concerned.

March 20, 2012
Last year on St. Patrick’s Day it was 80 degrees here, the buds were all popping, and some fruit trees were even starting to flower. It all sounded great, but then April got much colder, and all those tender young buds and fruit tree flowers that excitedly rose early to greet the March summer got zapped by the April frost.

The consequences for fruit crops were dire. Harvests of cherries, peaches, apples, plums, and berries were decimated. Fruit prices were much higher, and many of the “cool” kinds of heirloom apples and pears that we enjoy wandering the countryside to find in the fall were either full of frost damage or not available at all.

This spring (much colder and more consistent) is really what you want as a gardener and as someone who wants to pick peaches and cherries this summer! As I type this some of the perennial herbs are just starting to show some signs of life under a cover of fresh snow. While the early warm weather last year was a nice treat, this is much better for the crops, and isn’t that what matters most?

Tarragon sprouts outside on the porch
On the subject of perennial herbs, it turns out tarragon is perennial here. I’ve never grown it before, but I kept all of lat year’s herb containers outside all winter just for the heck of it. The thyme always comes back, but we also have oregano popping up, and these pretty tarragon sprouts! And to think, I have a bunch of tarragon starting from seed inside! I guess I’ll have to figure out what to do with the extra.

Oregano sprouting outside
Most of the seedlings are up now, and we are finally getting some peppers! Last year the eggplant was the last crop to sprout, and I had started to wonder if we were ever going to see it. This year the eggplant preceded the peppers by a solid week, and so far we only have one lonely Anaheim chili and one California wonder sprouting. That’s a solid month after they were planted. It has been a lot colder this year, which is probably the reason the peppers have been slow to germinate.

The first pepper: Anaheim chili!
 One last note on peppers. I bought a poblano pepper from the store last week and grilled it up to put on a grilled vegetable sandwich, and I immediately decided I needed to add them to the garden. The issue is that it is March 19th already, so if they take a month to germinate I’ll have one inch tall plants in May. To get around this I’m going to try to cheat a bit and force them to germinate early. More on that in my next post (hopefully in a day or two)!
Lots of herbs!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Glad you liked the poblano, it's a nice pepper for chili taste w/o the heat. Dried is an Sancho. I have a ton of them in the pantry...

  3. Sancho damn phone keyboard!!!!

  4. I'm hoping to have some extra for drying! First I have to get some of the pepper seeds to sprout...

  5. Your herb sprouts are look awesome! Best of luck with your peppers!

  6. Thank you! They are just starting to wake up a bit!