May 25, 2015

Spring Beginning for Vegetable Gardens in Ontario

Artichoke, 2nd year in zone 4.  Three others
didn't make it through the winter.
Here's an end of May update on the vegetable gardens so far.  I'm located in Ontario and it's been a topsy turvy start to spring planting.

In early May we had a couple of weeks of much warmer than seasonal temperatures and it looked like the risk of frost was gone.  Being the eager gardener and not always wise and patient, I went ahead and planted all my seedlings on the Victoria Day weekend.  All was good for a few days and then wham one cold night was predicted.

My son and I gathered up some tarps, garbage bags, blankets and sheets to cover up the three vegetable gardens that we had already planted.  I tried to keep an air space between the covers and the plants as best I could.

More frost damage.
Frost damage on heirloom tomato.

The next morning I went out and uncovered everything.  And of course there was frost damage.  Out of all my heirloom tomatoes that I grew from seed, only about 12 survived, I think I lost about half of them.  Luckily, everything else made it through.  There was minor damage to the cucumber seedlings, all the broccoli seedlings looked fine, the lettuce, kale and beets and artichoke showed no damage.

I decided to replace the lost tomatoes with some sweet pepper seedlings I bought from the store.  And of course the weather in the next two days was up to 28C again.

Another challenge is that it has been unusually dry here.  At first this was a good thing with helping to drain the swampy area around the house but I've had to water and water and water the gardens.

Today was the first good rain we've had in weeks.  There should be lots of growing in the next couple of days.

I did a first thinning of the lettuce, beets and kale a couple days ago, and fed those to the hens.  Yum Yum.  I'm also just starting to see the potato leaves break through the ground.

Now I'm watching the garden closely for the seeds that I directly sowed to start popping up.  I seeded carrots, peas, bush beans and pole beans.