Well - that's it - the 2015 veggie gardening season has officially begun!
We had a warm afternoon, and I've been itching to feel like I've made SOME sort of progress towards getting things growing. I still haven't started seeds for tomatoes or peppers indoors - maybe this weekend, or maybe I'll just buy plants this year.
My assumption has been that the soil's still just been too cold to get even the early seeds in the ground outdoors. I took my insta-read thermometer (yes, intended for culinary use), and tested the soil in various places in a few of the raised beds. They were all showing 40F, give or take a degree. Seems the soil that was under heavier mulch was usually a bit warmer than that which I had exposed and then lightly covered this weekend. Odd - I figured the stuff that was still heavily mulched in wet leaves would've been colder, with the leaves keeping the winter chill in place. Guess not!
I cleared out the bed intended for the trellis this year (oh right, I buried all of last seasons woody broccoli and brussels sprouts stalks under the mulch last fall - not fun), moved the trellis to it's new location (never fun), and decided to take a risk and planted peas, lettuce and spinach. I know the pea seeds said something like they should have 50F soil, but I'd been looking around earlier in the week and found conflicting info - with a range from 32-40+ for preferred soil temps for starting seeds.
I decided this'll be an experiment, and only planted about a fourth of each of the types of pea seeds, and planted them all on the south side of the trellis. Ditto for new lettuce and old spinach seeds. I figure I'll wait a week or two and see what the weather's looking like, and then plant again on the north side. I can also check later to see if it seems like the pea seeds are showing signs of sprouting under the soil. If they're not happy, I won't find cute little seeds sprouting - I'll instead find mushy and super stinky rotting seeds. Rotting pea seeds are NOT a pleasant thing...
I ordered a bunch of plants from Rain Tree just before winter. My first time ordering from them, and my first time getting stuff like currants and gooseberries. I was happy to get an email from Rain Tree a few weeks back saying they were delaying shipping by a week due to the harsh winter... All of those plants should be shipping out next week I believe - so I better get the bed space prepared for those plants.
The old winter hardy kiwis I planted years ago have never produced a single flower (and definitely no fruit), so those are going to get dug up and go to their new home at Mary's house. Maybe she'll have better luck with them. In their place will go a couple of the new currants.
Also, my beautiful Fire Coral Bark Japanese maple that people would stop and ask about died after last winter. I was so bummed - it had a beautiful weeping shape to it (odd for that tree I believe, which I think is why it was listed at 50% off at Lowes). I broke it off at the stump last week - it was so dried out after a year of being dead (I'd hoped it might make a comeback), and plan on replacing it with the service berry that's in the Rain Tree order. Their site mentioned this particular variety I'm getting was good for training into a tree shape (my other two are more shrubby), and I know it should be more winter hardy...