Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cool-season vegetables and warm winter weather

The warm late winter days this year promote the growth of leafy cool-season vegetables -- leaves of mustard, turnips, kale, and spinach have expanded rapidly with moisture and warmth.  Overwintered broccoli (and other cole crops) are flowering; the broccoli is still producing small, harvestable shoots, although their quality is a bit less that it would be if the weather had been cooler.

Seeds of lettuce, spinach, turnips sown a month ago have emerged now as sturdy seedlings, and hopefully will be making good growth, too, although dry weather is a problem.  It feels too early to bring out the hoses for the season (because we're still quite a long time away from our average 'last frost' date' and hose-damaging freezes, potentially).  But, it's heavy to lug the watering can around, no matter how much I think it's 'good exercise'!  Hmm.

It was 73°F in Clemson today, mild by any standards for March.  Not surprisingly, my gardening companion and Woody spotted a foraging woodchuck late yesterday afternoon below the satellite garden.  Mostly I just have garlic, onions and leeks there, with the kale and mustards barricaded under the plastic on my bamboo hoops.  Here's a view from a post in late January of the deployed deterrents, initially because of squirrels.

my set-up in a photo from early February
Maybe the various wire cages and supports will deter a woodchuck?
I guess I'd better see what I can do to relocate or deter my unwelcome visitor, who will be undoubtedly interested in foraging on fresh cilantro, spinach, and beets in the main vegetable garden.

Or maybe Woody, unlike our previous two Goldens, will chase woodchucks?  He's particularly good at chasing squirrels.


  1. Woodchucks, wow. I imagine they can do some damage. I am still battling the smaller rodents...voles. Well, I am stepping on the tunnels to smash them down.
    Hope your cages deterred the woodchuck.

  2. Lisa,

    We have had the hose out all winter, been watering at least weekly in our cold frames. Taking the plastic off on Sunday. Just harvested our first radishes planted this year. Sorry about the wood chuck in the garden. We might be having ducklings next to our garden, I think the Mallards are nesting.

  3. Janet and Randy,
    I was NOT happy to hear about a woodchuck sighting!

    But, I'm not surprised, Randy, that your hoses have been fine all winter. (My gardening companion tucked them away, and I haven't yet dragged them out from the basement).

    Nice to think about ducklings!



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