Since I first owned a car with a thermometer, in the winter of 2002/2003, my lowest noted temperature has been -16. Considering that I am generally out driving around every day of the week before 9am, that is a pretty thoroughly researched benchmark. Our hill, sheltered as it is by woods, is usually on the warmer end of the spectrum, but on my drive to work in the mornings, as I descend down the back side towards the lowland the coldest air would sink and I would watch the thermometer drop from -12*F, then -16.... I would sit at the first stoplight next to the large neighborhood produce stand, which is bustling all summer, and watch the thermometer hit -23. A few miles later past my friend Mickey's little commercial greenhouse I would get the lowest reading. Three days it was below -25 with my seasonal record being -30.
Last week Fed Ex delivered some expanding pea fence I had ordered from Gardeners.com. Rather than leave the large boxes on the porch, or cheat and store them in the garage, I slung 40+ pounds up on one shoulder and headed across the lawn to the garden shed. We've have foot after foot of snow that has not melted. Tim has shoveled our roof twice. The snow in the lawn is way over my knees and the bottom layers are so dense that they trap your foot, render your natural balance mechanisms ineffective, and threaten to throw you down. I trudged fifty or so feet through this impossible, impassable terrain to the garden deck, misjudged the edge, and floundered until I was waist deep and sinking. I threw the boxes in the general direction of the door and finished the last ten feet on all fours, wading towards the surface.
When the new boxes were stowed in the shed I considered staying to shovel off the cold frame again so it is not crushed under the weight of the snow, but there was nowhere to shovel too. The last time I shoveled two feet of snow off it I brought the surrounding snow levels up over the cold frame level. I would literally be digging down to the lid. I left it for another day.
|That lump you might think is the cold frame is not the cold frame. It is a Rubbermaid deck box full of chair cushions. The cold frame is that slope in front of the lump. The snow is deeper than and completely covers our garden bench.|
Last year I started my Egg Plant seeds on March 22. When I planted them on Memorial Day, the most vigorous were still only about 4" to 6". I think this year I will start them on the Ides of March. Peppers on April Fools Day. Tomatoes a couple of weeks later. I have sorted through my seeds, old and new and made a list of varieties I am going to plant this year. A pictorial version can be found on Pinterest.