I’m excited about the first pea sprouts.
Here they are, almost not here, so tiny. But here.
In early March.
I’m starting to learn how to make cool season crops work here in zone 7 where we have a short Spring followed closely by a whole lot of hot, humid Summer. I’ve grown a lot of stunted cabbage, pitiful broccoli, and early-bolting lettuce.
One way is to plant it late and keep it over winter. The spinach, lettuce, and arugula have fed us since September, in spite of a couple short spells of single digit lows. We were amazed these crops froze over and over again this winter and yet kept on cooking.
Another way is to start extra early, like these peas. Most of the country waits to plant peas until St. Patrick’s Day, but here it’s Valentine’s Day. I’ve also planted out other cool weather vegetables–cabbage, lettuce, and brussels sprout plants, and sown beets, mesclun, and mustard greens seeds.
I don’t have very high hopes for the cabbages or brussels sprouts, as usual, but they are in the ground a lot sooner than I’ve ever tried before. Time will tell. I keep experimenting and every year I find at least one thing worth learning.
Some things I learned last year:
1. Eight okra plants take up a whole 8×4-foot bed. I could harvest three or four pods every few days, but by the time I had enough for a whole batch the first-harvested ones were beginning to get tough. If I were a gumbo person instead of a fried okra person, it wouldn’t be a problem. But I’m a fried okra person. Gumbo is okay, but it isn’t fried okra.
2. I don’t need a whole bed of eggplant. Eggplants. Eggplant plants.
3. Indoor seed starting is best left to others. I surrendered early and ended up with a brittle graveyard of peat pots, soil, and dried up seedlings that sat in my greenhouse window for six months. I don’t know why I do these things.
4. Leeks are so seduisant and European-looking. But I don’t really know what to do with them.
5. Moles will eat cabbage roots and leave the poor little cabbages just sitting there not growing. Ha ha, good joke, moles.
What did you learn from last year’s garden?