Spring in Wisconsin means having a lot of patience, especially for gardeners. The winter was long and cold with intermittent warm and sunny days that screamed "Come outside and play in the garden!" followed by days that are cold, rainy and feel like late fall. I have a few tricks that I employ to battle the ever changing weather and my cabin fever. The first trick is to start seeds indoors. I have written about this before but starting seeds really gives me something positive to focus on. I bought a seed tray starter with 50 cells for my Aerogarden and started tomatoes and peppers approximately one month ago and am shocked by how amazing the roots of the plants are and how big they are!
The second trick is finding a micro climate in my yard to start early seeds in containers. A micro climate can be found next to a wall that is warmed by the sun and protects the plants from the wind, next to a vent, or anywhere that results in a warmer and protected enviornment. I usually use the front of my house but this year I cozied up three containers to the garage that gets great afternoon sun and is under an overhang. In early March I planted spinach, lettuce, arugala and bok choy.
Early container garden
The third trick is to keep growing inside even though the sun is out and I'm anxious to get growing. My garden To Do list is rather extensive in late spring/early summer and it is easy to rush and put everything in the ground. DON'T DO IT. WAIT. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. The earliest that I would ever put a tomato or pepper in the ground is Mother's Day but usually I spend an extra week or two bringing them inside and outside, hardening them off. One cold snap and they can die or be injured and take a long time to recover.
Indoor tomato safe from the cold
Lastly, I have learned what I can plant and when I can plant it. Spring time is for peas, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, arugala, radish and swiss chard. Plant spinach in the fall and there is a good chance that it will come up early spring, the same goes for kale. It is also a great idea to have a patch of asparagus that will come up year after year. There is nothing better than fresh asparagus in the spring!
Now is the time that I remind you that there are only 8 days left until the last frost but I honestly have to say this year that I'm not so sure. What I do know is that warm weather will arrive eventually and stay around. It will be absolutely wonderful.