Celebrating “Spring Fake” 2010
Just as the east coast has gotten pummeled with 30 inches of snow, a false spring has struck Seattle. On our walk today I saw many signs of spring including small tuliplike flowers, greener grasses and the smell of sweet jasmine flowers even though we couldn’t find the source.
The warmer weather has confused the garden as well. Today, I discovered that the hop plants had set new runners, just breaking the surface in the last day or two. The winter garden has picked up a good deal too. The reasonably tough Speckled Lettuce has set new leaves after losing some of it’s larger leaves to the colder weather in December and January. The Onions and Garlic are still doing very well; if this keeps up we will see an early harvest. The snow peas which I planted two weeks ago on a whim actually sprouted in the last few days. (I am using shredded newspaper as a free, no-impact mulch to insulate and warm the soil. It is a great way to extend the season.)
Snow Peas breaking ground level (left), Miner’s Lettuce (right) is doing very well as an unprotected winter crop.
Miners Lettuce is a new crop for us. It is similar to lettuce, but grows in much colder weather. It has flourished this winter with no protection, giving us small leafy greens to supplement our winter diet. I have added it to store bought salads, added it to stirfry and pasta for a splash of green and used in place of lettuce when making a sandwich. A northwest native plant, it was named Miners Lettuce as it was eaten by prospectors in this region to fend off scurvy. The flavor is similar to lettuce, mild, if slightly nutty, and a little crisper.
Hops trying to grow a little too early.
The indoor starts are also doing very well. I had to put one light fixture on each schelf as it slightly increases the number of plants getting supplementary light. I may have to get one more fixture when all the young tomato plants move into the 3″ squares. I will have to give an update on the starts soon!