This time of year really tries my emotions. Two weeks ago we planted most of the veggies, hoping that the weather would at least make it up to 65 F each day for a while. But it didn't. Those poor little seeds sat for days waiting for some sun to make them pop out of the soil. Finally this weekend we got sun and warmth. The seedlings did pop - whew and rejoice. Little shoots are one of the best things, filled with so much promise. That is if they can grow fast enough to escape the munching slugs and bunnies. In order to grow quickly, guess what we need?! Sun and 65 F.
This week's weather reports is for some of the coldest high temperatures for late May that we've seen in years and years. Snow down to 3000 ft - SNOW!!!! Of course we are at 500 ft, so we wouldn't get snow. But it may not even be hit 55 F on Friday. Plus we are getting pounded by heavy rain. I went down to peek at the Brussels sprout plugs I put in on Saturday (in the sun). The rain completely knocked down those the tiny little shoots - smooshed in the mud. I'm not sure if they will survive and it's too late to start Brussels sprout again for this year. We may have to choose a different veggie - maybe green onions. But I hope the Brussels sprouts will survive.
Also, I have faith that the weather will turn soon.
The other emotional trial this time of year is thinning. Like every good gardener, we follow the instructions on the back of the seeds packets and over plant. Then in a couple of weeks or so, we thin out half the seedlings. But it is so hard. I want to say "sorry" to each little plant, as a yank it up, snuffing out its chance to make food. As if that wasn't enough, I have to make choices. Often two seeds ended up in the same spot and only one can be saved. Like a doctor who has to amputate a leg to save the body, I have to choose which seedling is healthier and most likely to produce. Ok, that may have been a bit dramatic. Still, thinning is my least favorite part of gardening - even to weeding.
Next weekend I have to thin the beats, romaine lettuce, broccoli (2nd round) and beans. I should probably thin the peas too, but I may skip those - there is plenty of vertical room for the peas to spread out and my whole family loves peas from the vine.
The weather is also wreaking havoc on the corn. In our climate and latitude, it is hard to successfully grown corn. Most sweet corn needs close to 100 days from planting to harvest. We just don't have that growing season. I plant a couple of varieties that have the shortest grown season - ~70 days. Even at that, the seeds must to go in the ground in early May and should have popped by mid-May. As of today, only two of the six rows of corn seeds have popped. This is due to the temperatures. Corn needs heat; it needs the soil to stay at 55 F or more. For the next few days we will be hard pressed to get that. But I have faith the corn will popped and in August we will have fresh corn on the cob.
The most nerve wracking thing about this rainy cold weather is lambing. Our first round of lamping occurred in March, in the rain and it ended badly (see Lambs in the Rain). After that we decided to postpone breeding until January so the lambs would be born in May. This year we waited longer in January hoping the late-May, early-June births could occur in the pasture, in the sun. We have two ewes ready to give birth. Notag could go any day now. She is a really good mama and could probably figure out a dry spot. I suppose we could put her in the barn just in case, but I feel so bad couping her up when she doesn't have to be. I have faith in Notag. Lilly is about a week from giving birth. This is her first time and will be all 'new mommy' about it. I hope in a week the weather will be warmer and less rainy.
Hope and faith - two things gardeners, farmers and ranchers need in abundance!