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Little Bok Choys We Hardly Knew Ye

So, what I erroneously dubbed "summer" in my last post was merely a whiff of the incredible and startling heat wave that has descended on the northeast the past four days. I've lived through upstate New York springs for over twenty years, and I can't recall ever experiencing such a strange April as this one. Two weeks ago, we fretted over our tender seedlings as the nighttime lows dipped toward the teens--rare for this month. Now, the poor cool-loving crops of springtime struggle to make sense of four straight days of temperatures in the upper 80s. It's hard not to imagine that this dramatic unpredictability has to do with global warming...

So far our crops are weathering the heat alright, with the exception of a tray of bok choys that is behind schedule in being transplanted: the little plants are bolting before they even hit the ground. We haven't gotten them--and many other plants--into garden beds yet because we're focusing our labor on shoring up our deer fence and finishing our critter fence. (We're almost there--we might be able to finish this afternoon!) Our plot of land is surrounded on two sides by forest and on two sides by dense hedgerow areas. The hedgerows provide a lovely home for woodchucks and rabbits, and deer love that they can hop into the field, nibble, and easily hop back into their woods. In short: nearly anything with tender, sweet leaves gets munched quickly if left unprotected. So, we're taking the time to put in our fencing now--even if it means slightly delayed plantings--in order to guarantee no animals will mistake our heirloom seed preservation effort for an open-all-night vegetarian buffet.

We're also continuing to start lots of seeds in blocks and finish our planning. We haven't yet put any seeds of frost-tender crops in the ground, as our usual frost-free date is still two weeks off... but with this weather, it's awfully tempting! Could it really drop so cold again? Hard to believe. Perhaps we'll put in a few cucumber seeds early just to take advantage of this season's quickly-warmed soil... but if you try this at home, do keep some row cover or old sheets on hand to protect against frost, just in case.

How are you and your seedlings faring in this heat? Feel free to add a comment--the comment function is now working, and we welcome your participation in this blog.

Stay seedy! --Doug

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