Snow-tolerant Veggies

Yes, it’s May. And yes, it’s still snowing. In fact, we had temperatures around 20 degrees, with snow, over the past few days. The prediction is for warmer weather, but in previous years we’ve had snow and lows below freezing well into June. Of course I’m anxious to get my garden growing—but what will survive our winter/spring weather? Surprisingly, quite a lot!

LAH_7318We were gone last fall, so I never got around to pulling out last summer’s freeze-killed veggies. It turns out that was a good thing. With no protection at all, my Starbor kale roots survived our Zone 4 winter, and new growth is appearing from a dead-looking stump. I expect the kale plants to bolt as soon as it warms up a bit more, but in the meantime, I’m harvesting kale now. I plan to include kale in my garden again this year, starting seeds inside and setting out plants in late June to mature in September and October, after frost sweetens the leaves. You can bet I’ll leave those plants in place next fall, maybe with a bit of mulch or a row cover, for yet another early harvest. (more…)

My Favorite Herbs

thyme_blkforest-co_lah_7184While most of my garden lies dormant for the winter, I’m still picking fresh herbs to use in my cooking. Last year I planted thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, and sage in large pots, and this fall I hauled them into a sunny spot indoors. The plants are thriving.

As I snipped some rosemary for last night’s dinner, I started thinking—while my in-ground herb garden is spacious, I only have room for a limited number of pots. So, which herbs do I consider essential? And which cultivars do I like the best?


Seeds You Can Sow Now

Warm sun beckoned me into the garden. The aroma of wet, decaying leaves mingled with the earth scent of garden loam, filling my senses as I pulled back the mulch that had protected my planting beds all winter. It was one of those breath-taking days in early spring when you finally believe that winter might be over.

I was anxious to get started, but the forecast still called for freezing nights, with a chance of snow later in the week. I stared at the empty soil… and that’s when I noticed the seedlings. Amazingly, tiny green shoots were pushing out of the ground, even where snow lingered in the shade. What could be germinating now? Two of my favorite plants!

Bachelor Buttons

centaurea-bachelors-buttonshome-blackforestco-15jun07-lah-008I’m a sucker for anything that blooms blue, and bachelor buttons are undeniably blue. There’s even a shade of blue named after their alternate, and perhaps more familiar, name—cornflower blue. Although white and pink varieties are also available, they don’t interest me in the slightest.