The Garden


We are still in the middle of winter in my area. It’s cold outside and I have about two feet of snow on the ground. This time of the year I get a serious case of spring fever. I want to go outside and get my hands dirty working in my garden.

A few years ago I came up with a solution to help me through the bleak days of winter from January through mid-March when I can actually go out and plant the cold crops. The solution is my growing table. My husband built if for me. It is three foot square box about six inches deep with a layer of plastic on the bottom to protect the wood, followed by lava rocks for good drainage, a heating coil mounted on a screen frame, and all of it covered with soil. It has two arms mounted on opposite sides that support a florescent light fixture that holds two 3-foot grow lights.

On Sunday I will start planting seeds. The first in the pots will be the peppers, followed in a week by tomatoes. By the end of February I’ll have broccoli, cauliflower, and the vine crops ready to go. It’s a general rule of thumb that you don’t start planting outside until after the last frost. In my area the last frost is in mid-May. I cheat by having bent PVC pipe over my raised beds covered with plastic. I can get my cold crops in the ground in March with this method.

All this effort helps me feel smug when I look out the window at yet another snow flurry. I can smile, knowing my garden is already growing and I am thumbing my nose at Mother Nature and her extended winters here in the Pacific Northwest.

Do you like to garden?

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Augustina Van Hoven

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