Monday, April 18, 2011

More Snow in the Forecast for Wisconsin

More snow is in the forecast for Wisconsin gardeners, particularly in the northern (Sorry, Debi-o! See her pictures of "'Springtime' in the North Woods") and central parts of Wisconsin, possibly as much as six inches! Snow is in the forecast for overnight tonight and overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

Two snowfalls will once again cement the leadership and knowledge of all things weather of our village Snow Witch, giving her smug bragging rights. She would never come right out and say, " I told you so..."

Gardening in Wisconsin is starting to look a bit more like a Greek tragedy than anything else. The snow also give weight to weather as an externalization of internal mood of one of my life's leading characters, my teenage son. Having recently dissolved things with his girlfriend of a year; he says his heart just feels cold.

I used to tell him he was always so very funny, although not a good joke teller, more of a "life comic" along the lines of Adam Sandler. Nowadays, it seems like total Greek Tragedy at this Wisconsin gardener's house.

His history teacher has assigned him a "This Day in History..." paper to be written in front page newspaper style. My son, being as one with his "Cut and Paste" generation, went to the Internet to pull up everything that happened on his birthday in recorded time in one fell swoop. While he was in the shower, I snooped.

"You could title your front page 'On This Day in History...: Son Born, Comedy Dies-- Last episode of Monty Python Aired' Sub-headings include: 'So Many Football Players, University of Pittsburgh Takes to Numbering their Jerseys' and 'Electric Car Goes 15 Miles Between Rechargings-- in 1893'," I say.


"What's Monty Python, Mom?" the apple of my obviously ancient eye queries.

"Before there was Saturday Night Live, and William Sandler, Rob Schneider and that crew, there was the Three Stooges and Monty Python," I reply.

"ADAM Sandler, Mom!"

"Musta crossed a circuit with Adam and William Shakespeare," I mumble.

Comedy has decidedly evolved.

Unfortunately, weather in Wisconsin seems to be moving toward Spring at the same rate we are moving toward having a viable electric car-- way too slowly for me.

As for the garden?

I moved one more of my cole crop type trays of starter plants into my cold frame, which is now full with five flats. Even though the temperatures have been in the freezing range for most of the day and night here, and the seal where the bricks and storm window meet is far from perfect; the plantlings are soaking up any sunshine with which we are blessed.

I walked through a Big Box store the other day and noticed a lot of herbicides and pesticides for sale, far out numbering any growing things. One other thing caught my eye, though. I first noticed this on a NYC gardener's blog, "66 Square Feet". She is a rooftop gardener, or "farmer" as her zoning requires her to be; and seemingly a fairly good one, not having farm roots. She started her peas in fiber pots!

What? Peas pre-started in fiber pots. Now here is the same thing, a six-cell of peas about 3"-4" tall for $1.93 in the Big Box store. Peas germinate in about 3-4 days. If soaked overnight, it improves the consistency of germination. In the spring, you can almost always count on a least one of those four days including a shower. Keeping the seeds/planting area from drying out in for 3-4 days is not much of a struggle. Translate that into a NYC rooftop with a city's heat sink and winds, that's a different story, transplants for everything has to be the way to go.

So how does this apply to gardening in the central part of Wisconsin? Well, I planted my soaked peas 10 days ago today. As of yesterday, nada, zip, zilch. The weather is making everything so slow here. On the flip side when this weather pattern exits the state, we are more prone to having the temperature shoot up to 90 degrees while the rest of the state settles into a balmy 70 degrees. Those 3-4 hours when the sun is at its peak and temperatures that high are killer for young peas. I talked with some gardeners a few days back, who spoke of planting their peas through the snow, because of those central Wisconsin temperature spikes.

As I mentioned before, peas are problematic here. Might planting them as transplants make sense for us just as it does with the NYC gardener and her unsual micro-climate? Are pre-started peas a "Best Practice" for central Wisconsin gardeners who want to ensure their spring pea harvest?

For all you non-gardeners, happy sledding and may you have a Wonderful White Easter!


  1. Now stop that! No wishing of a white Easter, that is just cruel and wrong! :) I can see the wisdom of planting pea transplants- they are certainly unpredictable here, too. We do have spinach coming up, we leave seed broadcast in the fall, and it grows very nicely. We also have some 2nd year parsnips coming up, I think we should pluck those out. Don't want them causing issues!
    It is supposed to be in the 50's by Sunday, I have my eye on that- and we are not saying the "S" word out loud!
    Now that is a joyful thing!

  2. I am so right here with you on this post! I am direct sowing peas today despite our calls for snow the next 3 days. No soaking, no pre-starting, they'll get the moisture for the snow and be insulated with straw. Great blog, I look forward to reading more.