There is nothing like a few days of unseasonably warm weather to bring on a full-throttle gardener’s panic attack. We are all sure that we are sooooo far behind and, indeed, have probably already missed the growing season. That’s what gets us in trouble.
Recently I took a butt numbing drive down to Baton Rouge to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers Growing School. When fellow flower farmer, Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm, and I took off we were in long sleeves and jackets. It was downright chilly and, in fact, we had just had a snow shower three days prior. So you can imagine what kind of panic attack ensued when we returned four days later to 70 degree weather!
Our average last frost date is April 15, so I thought I had plenty of time to prepare the new planting beds and set out some shrubs and perennials. Not so. In looking at the 10-day forecast, spring has sprung. Old Punxsutawney Phil was right on the money this year!
I’m pretty excited about growing cut flowers for market this year. Southern Wild Flowers will be up and growing this spring, but it is important to take the time to properly prep the beds. Since my space is limited, I am following the advice of Jean-Martin Fortier in his book, The Market Gardener, to make permanent raised beds. In order to get the best production possible, I am concentrating on building good soil in these beds by adding organic material and some fertilizer. Building good soil results in healthy, productive plants.
I managed to spread 12 cubic yards of compost in the last two days in preparation of planting next week. I top dressed the existing beds and will work the compost into the new beds. Yet another body breaking task!
Needless to say, my weary body knocked the gardener’s panic right out of me!
Breathe in. Breathe out!