Sunday, March 31, 2013

Slow Spring

Two weeks ago I was rushing to get the garden bed finished, so I could get plants and seeds in on time.  Broccoli, peas, carrots, all need a good head start in cool weather, before the hot North Carolina sun beats them into submission.  That weekend I didn’t have time to get my seeds in, but made a point of using the early-evening sunshine to finish my spring planting after the workday.

Two weeks later, not much has changed. 



Well, the weather changed!  After lows in the forties (5° or 6° C) and highs in the mid-seventies (low 20°s C), the temperature dropped for almost two weeks.  Most nights got down just below freezing, and the daytime temperatures stayed in the fifties (10° – 13° C).  Though I’d read that broccoli can stand a freeze, mine didn’t seem happy about it.



As Easter weekend approached, however, things started to improve just a bit.  The last couple of evenings have brought rain instead of frost, and the broccoli is already starting to look perkier.  Finally, some of my seeds have come up, just in the past day or two.

Spring 03 (10)


As always, the radishes are leading the way.  I took this picture on Saturday, and by Sunday a whole row of seedlings had emerged.  Miss Chef’s spinach is finally poking above the soil, too.  No sign of peas, carrots or parsnips yet.

Saturday afternoon turned out to be lovely, and as I strolled out the back door, I noticed that one of our little trees was blooming for the first time ever!

Spring 03 (1)


I don’t really know what it is, but for the time being I’m claiming it’s a thornapple tree.  Here’s the background: when we moved into the house, I took advantage of an offer from the Arbor Day Foundation.  For $15 I received something like a dozen bare-root “saplings.”  These are essentially foot-long twigs, carefully color-coded with paint that fails to match anything on the enclosed list.  We planted the little twigs in a relatively sheltered area for a couple of years, then moved them to their final locations around the yards.  (I believe this was my first introduction to the hard clay North Carolina soil, famed for pottery-making as well as its ability to make strong men curse.) 

Today, seven years later, eight of those twigs are still alive—including two (alleged) thornapples, a rose of sharon that was supposed to be a crape myrtle, and a redbud.  And, as I mentioned, this is the first year the thornapples have graced us with blooms.  I’m glad they’ve finally reached their adolescence!

Spring 03 (2b)


Spring 03 (4)


The redbud, just down the fenceline, looks to be next—this will be the third year it’s bloomed.

Spring 03 (8)


I also noticed on Saturday that many of the flowering trees in the neighborhood were already in full flower, and the phlox by the mailbox was peppered with flat pink blooms.  And as I sit here typing, the wind has picked up and I’ve heard about a thunderstorm warning for a nearby county.

Hmm, maybe a slow spring isn’t such a bad thing after all!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new quarter at school, and for the first time since September of last year, I’ll be stepping back into the classroom.  So who knows how much I’ll be in blogland?  My next photos of the garden may be a grassy bed of weeds.


  1. Your garden looks very nice, and I envy your flowering trees. No signs of tree life here yet - average last frost date is June 11.

    1. Miss Chef read your comment and was flabbergasted. "I never want to live in Colorado," she told me. :)

  2. Every time you talk about planting, it seems funny to think a garden can be put in before April - here we have to wait until after the full moon in June to be planted! Talk about a short growing season :)

    1. oops, we don't get planted, the garden does :)

    2. It's an adjustment, for sure. I was used to June strawberries; here they can start as early as April!

  3. OOOOOOOO....You'll be baaaaaaacccccckkkkk! Good luck with the school schedule! Your garden looks great. I expect a big salad soon. Dressing on the side.

    1. Bloggers never leave...they just get distracted. That salad will be right about 6 weeks. You can start with the dressing.

  4. Looking at your photos gives me hope that spring my eventually come x

  5. Spring in Charlotte is fabulous!


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