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March 11, 2014

Farming this time of year: hurry up and wait

This has been a challenging year for seed planting.

It happens every year. You spend the winter drooling over seed catalogs, place your seed order, start a few seeds, and then basically wait around with your hands in your pockets and kicking at the dirt trying to decide if it is warm enough and dry enough to start planting.

This year, so far, it has been particularly challenging.

Last Sunday, it was in the upper 60s but the garden was still too wet to work and I had more than 300 onion plants I needed to get in the ground. So I built two 3-by-6-foot raised beds next to the greenhouse, filled them up with soil and leaf mold, and planted the onions at an intensive spacing of 4 inches.

By Monday afternoon, the forecast was for a low in the upper teens, and we were covering the beds with sheets of insulation and trying to put row covers on in 15-20 mph winds.

According to the forecast next week, it is going to be fairly warm and dry. We are going to go from shuffling our feet to being two weeks behind in a matter of days.

Like a horse at the Kentucky Derby, we are waiting for the gate to open and then the race is on.

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