Today’s Utah gardening tip comes right out of the Bible. Jesus chastised the Pharisees, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:24) When it comes to Spring gardening in 2021, He could have been talking to American Grandpa.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for remembering (even obsessing over) the little matters of the Mosaic Law, but forgetting the big things of the gospel (like mercy and forgiveness). In my case, I remembered the little rules of Spring gardening in Utah, but forgot the biggie.
I remembered to plan my garden in January; start my plants in mid-February; and prepare the soil in early March. I even remembered to check the long-term (10 day) weather report. But I forgot the most important rule of all –wait ‘til Mother’s Day to plant.
It wasn’t my fault!
It had been such a mild winter and mid-March was nice and warm.
I had plant starts outgrowing their peat pots and my space.
I had milk jugs cut and ready to cover the plants in case it got a little nippy at night.
Okay, enough rationalization. I was impatient and thought I could break the rule and get away with it. I put my peas, cucumbers and beans in the ground on March 17, after a week of nice warm weather and with a great looking 10-day forecast. Within three days the weather turned cold with snow and overnight temperatures below freezing for a whole week.
I covered my plants with my mini-milk-jug greenhouses, but it was to no avail. The cucumbers and beans were killed and while the peas survived, they really never came out of the shock. As of mid-April, they are still in the ground, but look terrible.
What did I learn?
If I am going to start plants, mid-February is too early and I need more room than the south-facing windows in our family room. I succumbed to temptation partly due to over-growing, over-flowing plants.
I need to rethink my life – at least when it comes to the design of my garden. Gardening in the ground and up against the fence made it very difficult to protect the plants.
While I may still be a rebel and may still try to plant some things before the second week in May, I realize that I am very much at the mercy of the weather.
Yes, when it comes to Spring gardening in Utah, patience is a virtue!