Saturday, May 31, 2014

Harsh Winter - Hardy Plants!

This winter was harsh.  There was so much snow and so much cold and the only garden safety net we had was the covering of snow which settled in on December and did not melt away until April.  The covering of snow protected the plants when the weather turned bitter, going 25 degrees below zero at one point.  My favorite saying this winter was the ground is still white.  I was saying that in May when we had one last snow storm that covered the grass in white one last time making it impossible to plant even perennials until after May 18.

Good for the garden was the fact the snow fell in December and never melted.  This snow cover protected everything in the garden.  However anything not covered by the snow was wind damaged or killed outright.  The tops of some plants were dried out by raking winds.  Climbers, trees and shrubs have large amounts of winter kill.  My thyme bed is so disheartening that I could not take photos of it.  However, this year I have a special project-- a 20 x 20 foot community garden patch and in that patch is a 3 foot by 3 foot raised bed with thyme, so at least I have beautiful thyme plants to enjoy without memory of what once was!

The garden as first planted 5-18-14

These are a combination of French, German, English, Common Lemon and Doone Valley Thyme.  The Doone Valley I wintered over in the house, the others I purchased this spring from nurseries and plant sales.

The soil did not really warm up until between May 15 and 20.  I did no direct sowing in the garden until around Memorial day.  The winter sowing I did was slow too.  The plants finally germinated and sprouted in late April.

You can see the snow cover even in February

Here are the spouts on 4/27/14
They are large enough and have their first two real leaves, so I can plant them out in the garden now at the end of May.  For details and photos of that task, check out my Community Backyard Blog later this weekend.  Winter sowing was to give me a jump start on the seed season, but I think it is not going to be the coup I'd hoped it would be this year!

To my surprise the seed that fared worst was Nasturtiums.  These hard shell seeds usually are perfect for winter sowing, but the germination of the seed was 1 plant in the entire container.

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