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Surprises in the Spring Garden--Any to Report?

By Barbara Ganley, May 5, 2011 - 4:51pm

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Thank goodness for the little surprises of the spring garden--with this relentless rain and the resulting muddy mess, especially in the potato bed,a gardener needs something to cheer about. Really, I'm a bit worried about the potatoes rotting out there before they break ground--they've had one dry, sunny day in the past week. I may have to replant them, something I've never had to do in all the years I've grown potatoes. But I've come to expect surprises--of the disappointing sort and, fortunately, of the happy sort, too.

Today I went out to take a look about the soggy garden, to see how everyone is holding up, and apart from the quiet potato bed, things actually look okay. The young transplants aren't exactly growing with any speed, but they look perky enough. The newly planted lettuces, greens, carrots, peas, radishes, favas and calendula are revelling in the cool damp. Phew. The raised beds are doing just what they should do--keeping the plants warmish and the wet draining out at this time of year.

And then I looked over at last year's artichoke bed--one of my big experiments. In November I placed them under a garden tunnel to see if I could trick them into thinking they were in Zone 6 where they should behave as the perennials they are instead of the annuals we have to be satisfied with in Vermont. When I pulled the tunnel off last month to see if they had survived, all I saw were six stumps that looked rather dead and rotten. But I let them be, resisted the temptation to pull them out--maybe, just maybe they would muster up some life yet. And they have! Three of them are unfurling their prickly leaves! I have second-year artichokes in my garden!

And so I'm okay with this rain for a little while longer. I can always plant more potatoes--there's plenty of time. I'm focusing on the wonders of the garden today and looking forward to tomorrow's discoveries. I'm interested in the surprises of your garden. Anything refusing to grow? Anything unexpected going on? Happy surprises?

TAGS: Barbara Ganley, Gardening


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