May 2, 2011

Snow again/yet/still...

Rain turning to snow forecast for tonight, and snow for tomorrow... this afternoon I was just counting up the days since it had snowed, thinking we might go a week......and....nope. 

This is the coldest spring I remember in many years, and my memory goes back over 50.  I am getting digging done, slowly, as the frost is well out of the ground, but on days when I get 4" of new snow, even if it's mostly melted by dinner, digging is difficult at best.  So bizarre to have a beautiful day like yesterday, sunny and nearly 60, and then back to wearing my down vest all day today even in the greenhouse.  I finally have species tulips in flower, almost 6 weeks behind! 
Things might turn themselves around at any time, of course, but La Niña is supposed to stick around another month at least,

 La Niña will continue to have global impacts even as the episode weakens through the Northern Hemisphere spring. Expected La Niña impacts during April-June 2011 include suppressed convection over the west-central tropical Pacific Ocean, and enhanced convection over Indonesia. Potential impacts in the United States include an enhanced chance for below-average precipitation across much of the South, while above-average precipitation is favored for the northern Plains. An increased chance of below-average temperatures is predicted across the northern tier of the country (excluding New England). (NOAA climate prediction ctr)
and so I am wondering about the growing season this year; here on the farm my average frost free dates are June 11-Sept 5 and if this year keeps up as it is I won't get any tomatoes and maybe no apples...I can grow the former in the greenhouse (and do now; brandywines and paste tomatoes, plus maybe cukes this year)---- but not the latter.  I adored the huge glasshouse at the Morden Arboretum but OY just think of the labor and upkeep!

In adapting to my lessened abilities after the heart infection, I'm tearing down some of the raised beds and devoting some of the space to fruit trees (hah! short season ones preferred!) and some to lavender (as the deer and elk will weed and fertilize those for me and they don't need fencing); the removed materials will be added to a few other beds to raise them for better accessibility, and I've begun collecting cardboard in earnest, to lay in the paths, cutting down on the need for mowing.  This not only saves time and effort I can't spare, it softens the soil underneath, and a few beds will be fallowed with cardboard this season; I'll post results on that, along with results from a friend who is trialling different weed supression methods including that concentrated vinegar and boiling water.

The raised beds were assembled with the innovative stackable hinges from Lee Valley tools which make building a breeze; they will get re-used along with the cedar boards and the hardware cloth which will either add to the height of beds or be fashioned into tree baskets or smaller beds for the lavender (voles have no compunction about eating lavender, sadly.)

(NOAA is by the way, a wonderful weather forecasting resource, here is the link to the 30 & 90 day forecasting.)


Laurie Brown said...

It's been so wet and cold that at least 50% of the ground around the house is covered in moss and liverworts! I am not thrilled about this. All the other weeds are coming out of the ground easily right now, but the soil under the liverworts is still sticky and hard to get off the back of the 'worts. While I'm all right with moss, I have a serious hatred for liverworts. Time for more soil amending to try and make it inhospitable to them..