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Will you be ready when the garden thaws out?

Spring Snow
Spring SnowR. MacGregor

As the picture taken today, March 21, 2014 surely indicates, Zone 6 gardeners will not be setting spade to garden anytime soon. The ground is still frozen deep from the remarkably cold temperatures and anyway, much of the soil is still covered in ice. And yet, going strictly by planting charts and the instructions on seed packets and gardening web sites, many seeds should already have been planted.

Oh, not the heat loving tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, nor yet garden favorites like squash and corn, they will have to wait. But the list of veggies with seeds which should be in the ground up to 10 weeks before the anticipated last frost date is extensive. It includes arugula, fava beans, salsify, peas and cabbage. Beets, spinach and kohlrabi should be planted, as should collards, carrots, cabbages and turnips. Swiss chard, seed potatoes, parsnips and kale, and most leafy greens and radishes are also on the early bird list.

What is a gardener to do? One cannot plant anything in ice and expect results, but one can have all the seeds he or she plans to plant ready to hand. One can also cheat a bit; many seeds, like carrot seeds germinate faster if first soaked and then frozen prior to sowing. Others need merely be soaked overnight, still others, like beet seeds can simply be gently rubbed between two sheets of medium sandpaper.

There are few general purpose gardening books available to the home veggie and fruit gardener than “High Yield gardening” by Hunt and Bortz. You can find this invaluable resource on Amazon for as little as a penny, and never regret the shipping charges.

So be ready, Zone 6 gardeners, you will be digging before you know it!

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