Hi gals, isn’t it fun to dream of gardening when it’s raining too much to set foot in the garden? And, yes, Betsy, this is not the end of winter. In Boundary County we can have snow & freezes every month of the year so it’s not over yet. It’s a very rare Farmers’ Market that doesn’t see snow in May, & my last freeze date is about June 10th. Probably closer to May 30 for Heather.
Veggie sowing–carrots, parsnips, radishes, celery root & parsley root all like to be direct sown, as well as dill, borage, coriander. You’d lose far more than you’d gain. Peas mid-late March to April, beans & corn after the first of June when the soil is really warm. I usually hazard some sweet peas mid March but they don’t always come up. Spinach you can direct sow the soonest as it likes cold days and not heat.
The indoor crowd includes tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos etc. now(ish), vine crops (melon-cucumber-squash tribe) toward the end of April. In Boundary County our growing season varies from 100 to 115 frost free days (maybe!) and so I’d choose the earliest varieties or at least those to mature in around 100 days, no more, until you see what ‘makes’ for you. I can never get Limas to set more than a few pods, sadly. But filet & romano beans–bumper crops. Zucchini and summer squash do well, and most early winter squash like Kuri, Acorn, etc. Tomato varieties I have had good luck with here include Oregon Spring, DelBarao, Stupice, Mikarda Sweet and Brandywine (some years) and even Black Krim. Most cherry & plum/pear types mature easily, as do the smaller paste and small slicers. Bill McDorman’s Seeds Trust has a very good selection of heirloom/op/etc. tomato seeds for cold climates–he’s in Sun Valley, Id. and collects Siberian varieties. Lots of good cold climate veggie advice there too.
As to roses–as soon as the ground can be worked without making it stick together, plant your roses. The prefer to not even know they’ve been moved, so before they leaf out is best unless they are potted. The roses you brought with you–wait until all the others have leafed to declare them dead, sometimes it takes a while. But–if they’re teas or have China blood in them, you may well lose them. I’m devoted to species and antiques, and not only for fragrance. The Rugosas, Gallicas, Damasks, Centifolias and most species are wonderfully hardy, requiring no coddling at all, and not succumbing to black spot. And, while you’re buying, be sure the roses are on their own roots. That way, when a few years of -30 in a row come, you won’t end up with all gangly non-flowering shoots from the rootstock. If you feel you must buy a grafted rose (and I nearly think they should be outlawed), be sure to plant the graft union at least 2-3″ below the ground level so roots can form on the rose you bought, not just its rootstock. The nursery or box will say at or above ground level, but that’s not for our climate. And if you get told not to bury the graft on roses, don’t listen to anything else that person tells you garden-wise, they haven’t been gardening here long enough to know what they’re talking about.
(Stepping down off my soap box) I remain,
Your Northern Correspondent
In case you are scratching your head, this is a response to comments that were posted here.