Starting ‘Em Early in the Adirondacks

It snowed this morning.

A little. I don’t mind. It was melted and gone by afternoon, and I still went outside to do early Spring things. I shoveled some extra crushed stone I had sitting around into the wheelbarrow and took it over to fill some ruts in the driveway. Took the Christmas lights off the spruce trees, now that the cords are not buried in ice. I took some time to notice the robins and chickadees that have returned. The day lilies are poking up on the sunny side of the yard. The rhubarb is peeking out. Soon I’ll be raking the thatch out of the grass in the side yard, and planting new seed in the front.

Seems like it’s about time? Not so. Not way up here. Plants peeking up and birds returning in mid-March is highly unusual. It’s nice to see the plants coming alive outside, but my March gardening efforts are mostly concentrated indoors.

I started seeds indoors today – just the medium-to-hardy veggies. Spinach, swiss chard, carrots, peas, lettuce. The less hardy warm-weather stuff will go directly into the garden.

Didn’t exactly have a panic attack over it, but I ended up getting such conflicting advice, I decided to hedge my bets. One very experienced friend says never to start peas, beans, chard, corn, radishes, lettuce. Another says that because mine are in individual peat pots (and their roots won’t be disturbed), I’m fine.

So, I started half the seed, and saved the other half for later. If the starts are fine, I’ll have seed to plant for a second crop. If the starts are a disaster, I still have extra seed to direct sow. At any rate, they’re planted, for better or for worse.

Like most things, I think this Adirondack cold-weather gardening thing is going to come down doing a little experimentation and finding what-works-for-me/you.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Starting ‘Em Early in the Adirondacks

  1. I’m the same way. I get so anxious to start planting that I start too soon. I’ll be interested to hear how your crop progresses. I’m planting upside down this year. We’ll see how that goes.

  2. Seeing little shoots in the yard make me so excited to start planting. I always seem to do it way too early or way too late, depending on the year’s weather. I think I might copy your plan of starting 1/2 of them inside this weekend – seems like a good compromise!

  3. themac

    I started my lettuce and spinach on the first of March – they will stay inside and never see the light of day. We’ve already started to harvest the lettuce!! Ever see a toddler BEG for lettuce??
    I did start some green beans last night in an egg carton since I ran out of pots. I thought it was pretty brilliant of me.

  4. I planted a 12′ row of peas along the back wall of my cold frame last week, and put in lettuce and radishes today. I’m still eating spinach, claytonia, and mache from the cold frame plantings I made late last fall.

    I think I’ll put in some beets and maybe a different lettuce tomorrow. All my open beds are definitely workable but I’m not sure if I should risk putting in more peas or not. Most hardy stuff will be started in pots in the cold frame (broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc.) but tomatoes, peppers and other heat lovers will still be started indoors under lights.

    (Zone 4b, central NY)

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