Perils of planting early

Well, guess it’s the time of the year to talk about the perils of planting too early. On March 17, I checked the seven day weather forecast and found temperatures ranging from the 30s to 50s. Great, I thought, time to unload the cold frame and get some lettuce, kale, kohlrabi, bok choi, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in the ground.

So, I merrily started planting one of my raised beds, laid out my drip tape, put up my hoops and laid out my row cover.

Needless to say, the cold north wind has returned and while nothing is frozen, there is the potential for the broccoli and cauliflower to form button heads. This phenomenon occurs when plants sit in the cold ground without making any growth. There’s nothing you can do but yank them out. In my 35 years of vegetable gardening, this has only happened to me once, in 1980. Good garden records are a blessing.

So what to do. Well, in my case, I started a second set of broccoli and cauliflower plants in early March. I’ll just make plans to start hardening off my new transplants next week and replant in mid April when the weather warms. I sure hope that my my shallots, onions, favas, sugar snap peas and potatoes don’t rot in the ground because its been so cold. Hopefully, my raised beds and row cover will come to the rescue.

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