Yesterday was the first time in a week that I did not need to move snow. It was a small pleasure that my upper shoulders, arms and neck were grateful for. It was only temporary as we will be getting another 2 to 4-inch blast today, which is just a warm-up exercise for the main event. But that is not what I am worried about. It is the digging required to retrieve all my propagation supplies.
Over the past few years since I left Green Chimneys I have been starting all my flowers and vegetables in early March. All my propagation trays, soil and grow lights are stored in my shed and greenhouse, both of which are encased in three feet of snow. As I wasn’t around when we got the big blasts, I wasn’t prescient about how snowed in we could get. There is a melt and rain expected later this week but with a cycle of daytime rain- nighttime freeze I may need to get out a jackhammer to access my stuff. I have thought about taking the coward’s way out and getting some supplies from my son-in-law who will not be starting plants indoors this year.
Starting plants now seems almost silly or at the very least fruitless. With tons of icy thermal mass resting on my beds, it will be quite a while (or quite a big thaw) to get soil temperatures at 40 or above so I can place my first greens. The spinach, miner’s lettuce, carrots, swiss chard, mustard and other greens that were planted last September are frozen solid in the dark recesses of a snow tunnel created by my cold frames (assuming they have yet to collapse.) Yet no doubt I will start my seeds in a few weeks with the hope that the warmth of Spring will greet me in a month.
My shipments from Fedco and Baker’s Creek have arrived; my propagation mix from A.M. Leonard is due at the end of the week. Wetting the mix, filling the trays and titrating the tiny seeds in each cube of soil has become a early March tradition. Once the grow lights are going and the heating pad plugged in, I start a weekly cycle of starting another tray or two that doesn’t stop until June and then restarts in August. Our solarium takes on a humid, oxygen-thick air as the new plants start pumping out life. Like a child at Xmas, I wait with anticipation for the first signs that my seeds are growing and that I have been successful. By mid-March I have many little babies to attend to.
Time to get out the shovel (or the jackhammer.)