One day you’re wondering if it’s ever going to warm up and quit raining. The next, you’re sitting behind a backlog of spinach and strawberries, wondering if you can get it all done.
A little update from vegetable town
Let’s deal with the bad first. Spinach and Sugar Snap peas have so far been the most disappointing. The spinach grew so slowly during the cold, wet weather that it wasn’t very big by the time the high 80s surprised us last week. As a result, I have lots of tiny plants that must be picked before they bolt, which usually happens right about now. In fact, they’re showing the telltale, raised leaf signs of bolting as I write. So I now have a grocery bag of spinach in the basement refrig, awaiting my decision on what to do with it.
The peas look much better now than a week ago. The flat, edible-podded ones have begun to fill in and bloom. The row of Maestros have pods that are fattening up and will be ready soon.
It’s the Sugar Snaps that have let me down. A few more are up and climbing the fence Mike put in, but still, where are the rest I planted and replanted? The first round got a lot of moisture and cold weather, so they could have rotted. But that doesn’t explain the ones I replanted later that still didn’t come up. Maybe, like some super sweet corn hybrids, their germination rate is just poor.
A few squash didn’t come up either. I know for a fact they rotted because I discovered their little corpses when I dug to put in the replacement seeds. The soil is nice and warm now, so they shouldn’t have a problem catching up.
Thanks to the suddenly summery weather, we’re now staring into a mountain of work, as every early crop begins to come in. Strawberries have already begun and cherries and currants are about to be at prime picking stage.
I’ve been having a few problems with the strawberry bed that I hope we’re solving this year. Three or four years ago, a lot of plants got sickly. It looked like a rot or fungus, even though they’re in a raised bed. I attributed it to the leaves we used for winter mulch (which are very hard to get rid of in spring). So we switched to a straw mulch and I pulled out a bunch of plants to allow for more air circulation.
The plants surviving look a lot better. But now the problem is that the runners are not resulting in many new plants. So yesterday, Mike got some dirt from where the fall “leaf corral” was and put it in the bald spots. When the runners come, I intend to train them to the new dirt, weighting them down if necessary. We’ll see if it works.
Even so, I’ve picked enough berries to make some strawberry-rhubarb toaster pastries (I’ll file a recipe later). And, I did my first batch of jam today!
I love making jam second only to making pickles. Usually, though, I only have to make it every other year. I don’t like keeping jams and jellies more than two years so every spring means a little pantry clean-out, which is sad, but also exciting.
Ahead: Apricot jam (sorry, no tree. I actually buy apricots for this–that’s how much I love it). Cherry and currant jelly.
Posted by: Roxie