Where Is Summer?

May 22, 2011 at 9:21 am Leave a comment

Usually winter slides right into summer in Colorado. We might get a week or two with spring-like conditions, but it seems to go almost directly from cold to hot, do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200. This year, however, we’ve had a true spring. The temps have remained low, except for a couple of exceptional days; the sun has not been the dominating feature of the sky; and, over the past month, we’ve received more rain than one normally sees in six months.

Waiting-for-summer Bouquet

While those who are ready for the warm temps to arrive are a little grouchy, my spring vegetables are loving this weather! They are growing a little more slowly than usual, however I harvested my first lettuce last week and made a salad that included baby kale, sorrel and cilantro (volunteer). The leaves were so tender and succulent, it’s almost indescribable. You truly don’t need dressing when your vegetables are so fresh.

On my own grouchy side, the basil that I so carefully tended as sprouts since February got wind-nipped last week and are looking pretty sorry for themselves. (I’m pretty sorry for them too.) I’m hoping I can rescue them, but it’s possible that basil will be a last-minute seeding expedition instead of enjoying the mature plants I normally have.

If you are a beginning gardener in Colorado Springs’s normally challenging, and this year more than ever, conditions, take heart. You can plant some things now and expect a good harvest. Root vegetables (carrots, beets and more) are always a good bet. Just make sure to amend your soil with two to three inches of compost and the looser the better, so the roots can easily grow. There are bolt-resistant varieties of lettuces and spinach. While I would recommend a sunshade for them if the temps start to rise quickly, many grow pretty quickly, so you should be able to get a harvest before it’s too hot.

If you want to plant beans, squash and tomatoes, I would wait until it’s just a bit more consistently warm. I have my tomatoes out with protection in Walls o’ Water, a trademarked items that uses tubes of water in a teepee shape to create a mini terrarium, but I won’t plant my squash and beans until after Memorial Day this year. You want soil temps to be in the 50s to get good germination and growth for both of these.

The biggest thing is just to try what you like and don’t get discouraged. At least a packet of seeds costs very little, so if you have to replant, it’s not the end of the world. The results can be exciting and overwhelming, as evidenced by the more than 200 pounds of produce I harvested out of my city yard last year. Happy Gardening!

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Entry filed under: Gardening.

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