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April is the cruelest month

May 9, 2011 - Kathie Evanoff
Or so says T.S. Eliot in his famous poem, “the Waste Land.”

This year he was spot on with that observation. I’ve often written that most of the garden work must be done in April to avoid more work over the summer, but this year April’s work was delayed due to colder than normal temperatures and more rainy days than not.

This year, May is the new April, or at least when it comes to gardening.

In my indoor seed-starting garden, the onions that germinated in February are getting tired of low light conditions and are crowded in their small planting cells. They want to spread their bulbs and start some vigorous growing but my vegetable garden is so wet I’m afraid they will rot in the ground before they have a chance to recover from transplanting.

Also waiting patiently to be planted outside is flat-leaf parsley, lettuce, spinach, beets, scallions, peas and some perennial herbs. It’s getting close to time to get the entire garden planted and I have yet to get my cool-weather crops in the ground. Our last average frost date here in zone 5 northeast Ohio is May 20. As long as there are no late frosts looming, we will soon be able to get everything else in the garden proper, even the hot weather crops like tomatoes and peppers.

But I’m not worried. The forecast this week is for more sunny days than not and some pretty warm temperatures that will heat up the soil quite adequately. Tilling isn’t necessary for digging a furrow to set in the onions and toss in some early seeds. I still have hope.

In addition to getting those early vegetables going, there are weeds to pull, edgings to dig, and lots of clean up to get to before we can even consider laying mulch in the perennial beds.

This year April was indeed the cruelest month when it came to getting the garden work started. May will be hard on the muscles, not to mention a real time-stealer, since the work will be doubled.

To quote Chevy Chase, “Where’s the Tylenol?”


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