The Waiting is the Hardest Part

There is so much anticipation as visions of fresh fruits and veggies dance in our heads that each delivery by the postman of an order of seeds feels like Christmas. It’s hard not to order more varieties than our garden can handle (succession planting should help a bit here) and just as hard not to jump the gun and just start planting everything, but we have to have a game plan. When is the last day of frost? How much can we roll that back using “Wall o’ Waters?” How long will it take to get the seedlings to transplantable size? Can we start them now? Please?

This year will be my first to try to grow cauliflower, the yellow to orange ‘Cheddar’ hybrid and the lime green ‘Romanesco.’ ‘Romanesco’ is called a broccoli, but lo and behold it’s more closely related to cauliflower. Well there’s quite a few edible brassica that are the same species, so who am I to argue? Those cold-hardy plants are the ones I’ll start first, since they should be able to take the cold better than my beloved tomatoes, peppers, and melons. I’m trying things I haven’t tried before like kohlrabi ‘Kossak.’ The first time I saw it in a farmers market, the vender wouldn’t tell me what it was, probably for fear of my growing it myself. Well, her fear comes true this year even without her assistance. I mean to try roasted Brussels sprouts as well; I’ve heard they’re delicious. Everything is delicious and fresh and perfect in my mind’s eye, before reality, in the form of cabbage worms and loopers come to share in my harvest. In the past I’ve picked these devils off my plants, but this year I’m thinking floating row cover might do the trick. “Forewarned is forearmed” they say, and gardeners may appear a peaceful bunch, but we can be fierce defenders when it comes to the fruits of our labor. I may mulch quickly to keep things cooler for my cold loving brassicas to counteract the warmth that will be held by the row cover. Game plans are afoot, but how long can they hold me off from the thrilling action of new acquisitions and another season of battle with mother nature’s little scourges? Not long now, not long at all.

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