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Tuesday, February 16, 2016


It may seem like your garden is fast asleep underneath the snow, but a rapid melt can reveal a surprising amount of vitality and growth. These nubs of chives were invisible yesterday; today the snow has receded and revealed that they were far from dormant underneath their white blanket. These chives are growing out in the open, with no protection from the elements.

The edges of snow are pulling back, and the amount of green I am discovering is frankly knocking my socks off.  Also, this is our first spring starting the year off with cold frames and covered beds in place. The intent of the frames is to protect from the elements and to capture some of the heat being produced by the slow-burning, subterranean hot beds. Let's take a look around for signs of life in the frames:

The same story of growth beneath the snow was played out in this bed, which does not have a top cover but does have 1' wooden slab walls all around it. Last year's blackened chard leaves lie in stark contrast to vibrant orange stems, ready to spring up with new life.

This red Russian kale was tucked up against my mini cold frame and made it through the winter with just a sheet over it.

I didn't even know that this onion had been busy growing inside the cambered cold frame. It was last year's onion, and escaped harvest due to being completely obscured by tomato plants (the jungle effect). Now we have green onions to enjoy! They are amazingly nutritious and of course taste great.

This is the west half of "Bill's bed," where today I finally harvested the last of last year's carrots, and planted some lettuce seeds in their place. When I opened it up, I found a few plants that made it through the winter and are starting to perk up a bit.

Yes, only a bit! Although these plants may appear to be in a sorry state, this is a vision of beauty to me. These yellow and white Swiss chard and kohlrabi plants are primed to grow radiant as soon as the weather grows just a little milder. In the meantime, I see it as a beautiful mess.

What a difference some rough slabs and a cover can make!

Over on the east side of Bill's bed, more Swiss chard has overwintered. 

Also in the east half of Bill's bed, the garlic is up! I peeled back the leaf mulch to find the plants much bigger than I would have expected at this time of year. 

I'm not sure if there is a more hopeful sight in February. 

And for those beds where the snow seems more stubborn...

Black plastic!

Stay tuned... the garden is awakening.

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