It was 7:30 pm last night when the rain first hit our roof….soft at first, then…. patter patter pat! I could not resist, I left two children inside alone, in bedtime mode to run outside and uncover my garden beds. I have been super lazy lately, uncovering them only once a week to water (my irrigation is not turned on yet), then I tuck them back in and ignore them for the rest of the week….Lying there listening to the rain, I realize it had in fact been a week, today was watering day and the sky was doing it for me!!
I did get pretty soaked, but so did my little greens. They are definitely sturdy enough to stay uncovered at night by now, especially on a cloudy night, but I leave them covered more to protect them from other things like birds, bugs, wild cats that roam my garden and leave me presents in my freshly dug garden beds… but last night the stayed open and I dreamed away while they soaked up every sweet drop. This morning I was so surprised to see them in the light of day. All grown up and ready to harvest!!
I transplanted them March 20th from seed I had started in the Greenhouse February 19th and started some from seed directly…so I guess everything was right on tract, but I was not expecting this gorgeous green growth!!
I guess a little rain and few warm days and things really shoot up in the spring time… Doesn’t it feel like flowers are bursting overnight and grass sprouting up into lawns out of nowhere this week!! Maybe there is no miracle here, but the out of sight thing makes it all the more rewarding when you peel off the wrapping paper and ta-da, a real live garden inside!! The miracle of life, what can I say, it gets me every time!
So here are a few tips for your garden if you like….
Row Cover is AWESOME!! Let me count the ways….Protect from wind, critters, snow, blowing weed seeds (darn elms!) stray cats, stray Dogs, stray babies, Holds in moisture, holds in heat, I could go on…
Overhead watering, falling from the sky, but also harvested rainwater run through a sprinkler is AWESOME!! (rain water is very different than city water or even well water in terms of minerals, salts and metals)
Spring is AWESOME with moisture and cool temps that plants just love so this is the time to garden in desert!!
Planted in the Greenhouse February 19th-Transplanted March 20th
Sowing Early is AWESOME and pays off….And if you haven’t done a thing out in your garden, now is the time. You can plant Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Chard, Etc.. all directly now and be eating salad by June. You can also start to plant cool roots like Carrots, Beets, Parsnips, Rutabega, Radish, Turnips, etc… directly outside right now.
Pre-irrigate then Weed–The earth has actually already sown lots of stuff for you, so you could just wait a couple of days after these rains and go out to your garden with a sharp hoe and chop down all the weeds you see….farmers call this tactic pre-irrigating; meaning water, weeds sprout before any vegetables will, hoe the whole row and you have just cleared your garden bed of the first generation of weeds and now you have a pretty clean start and weeds pressure will be a lot lighter when you overhead water.
If you have a place indoors for starts, you’d better have those tomatoes, peppers and eggplants started already cause in one short month they can go outside. Now you can add lots of warm season flowers like zinnia, sunflowers, cosmos to your window sills to join them….
Speaking of flowers I have had a ton of folks ask me about planting wildflowers this season… I do believe if any there were, this is the year for wild flowers. Now is the time to plant them directly in a nicely raked bed. Treat them like any seed bed; water daily, keep covered and when they come up, slowly peel back the cover for longer and longer every day and water less frequently and more deeply as they grow. Most wildflower seed packets say, “Sow as soon as soil can be worked” meaning they love spring and can handle cool temperatures… however the cover helps them stay protected from all kinds of things and when they get a bigger they can get tough and tolerate what the wind throws their way….
Sow much and Sow Often. Happy Moisty gardening!