I keep planning to write a post about yard work, of which there has been plenty, but the weather conspires against me. It’ll warm up nicely, I’ll take a deep breath and relax; well, winter’s over at last, I’ll be able to get out into the garden soon… And two days later, wham, six to twelve inches of snow. Even when the temperatures rise, it takes days for all that to melt.
(One area in northern Montana got four feet of snow sometime in May. It’s not city gardeners who are really suffering; it’s ranchers, who have been losing sheep and cattle by the hundreds. Early spring is lambing and calving time, not a good time for blizzards.)
A couple rounds of this and the instant the snow is off the yard I’m charging for the door, trowel in hand. Forget the camera; there’s work to be done. Once when it melted I did get some photos, but of course they’re out of date by now. It seems impossible to get some work done, document it, and post it between snowstorms—and more recently, thunderstorms.
Just a week ago, in the face of snow, hail, and several nights of near-freezing temperatures, I went tearing around the gardens, arms full of plastic sheets, row-covers, and PVC tubing, all of which I’d occasionally drop to clutch my hair and moan before rushing indoors, where I’d sit on the extreme outside edge of a chair as I googled “strawberry blossoms cold tolerance” or some such. Then it was back outside to load the wheelbarrow with spruce duff from the front yard as I cursed my rashness in daring to plant corn and beans so early. When I was done, it looked like a ghost garden: plastic covered the strawberry beds, yards of white row-covers swathed the cherry tree, (which was in full bloom of course), and in place of two-inch high corn and beans, one could see only vast tracts of spruce duff.
Everything survived, including the young plants I’d left uncovered as controls. More recently, the operation has been re-visited in the face of hail, which is usually a late-summer phenomenon, like the tornadoes ripping through the midwest this week. What the heck is going on?