Amazing April weather

A year ago, our April garden was awash after the infamous Patriot’s Day storm, which lasted 3 days, dumped over 5 1/2 inches of rain on southern and mid-coast Maine, had winds of up to 59 mph, and ocean waves of 31.5 feet. Three people were killed, and damages were estimated at $45 million.

In 2008, thus far April is being a kinder, gentler month. Friday it was 80°F on the deck in the afternoon (granted, it’s a heat sink) and for the past 2 weeks it has been mostly clear, mild and sunny.  I have never seen the vegetable garden (in April) as warm and dry before. Yesterday after turning the soil, I checked the temperature a few hours later and it was 56°F. This year, I was determined not to have leggy, overgrown seedlings still awaiting a dry spot in the garden come Memorial Day. I decided I was going to start my seedlings this week, during April school vacation. Now, I am suffering because I don’t have seedlings of my own to plant. Sob.

I purchased some broccoli and buttercrunch lettuce seedlings the other day, and yesterday, very carefully set them out in the garden, giving them a soaking in very weak fish emulsion to help avoid transplant shock. They looked so pretty, but the sun wasn’t right for a photo so I decided to wait until this morning to take a photo. Then I moved on to other tasks, including some errands with Dan late in the day. When I returned, at about 6:30, what to my disbelieving eyes should appear but Iris in the vegetable garden! Chicken supper dishes were flashing through my mind as I raced back to the garden: chicken stew, chicken pot pie, chicken divan, braised chicken with olives and lemon….

Fortunately for Iris’s neck, the damage wasn’t too bad. Amazingly, she had not dug up the salad greens bed, merely the prepped but unplanted raised bed next to it. She had, however, grazed rather viciously on my new broccoli, parsley and lettuce seedlings. They looked much prettier yesterday. I tucked the parsley back into the ground, and re-firmed the soil around the lettuce and broccoli seedlings, and considered myself lucky –but so much for my attempts to avoid transplant shock. How she got in to the garden I’m not sure, but it just goes to prove that chickens are smarter and sneakier than we think.

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One Response to “Amazing April weather”

  1. El Says:

    Iris, that little booger! I asked Tom if he had closed the greenhouse door when he let the chickens out the other day and he said, “the door? Why?” and fortunately only Verloe had gotten in there, laying waste to a couple rows of kale and broccoli. Sigh. She did me a bit of a favor because I did have way too many broccoli…if you were closer Ali I would gladly give you a bunch!

    But maybe your seedlings will be fine: you know how they tell you to remove some leaves when you transplant things, reducing the canopy so the roots have less to grow for… Happy April

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