Gardening is for Optimists

An unseasonably cool fall prompted a flurry of activity in the garden. I’ve spent a small fortune on dirt, mulch, and plants and followed by hours of manual labor. Visions of a bountiful harvest and beds teeming with colorful flowers keep me going until the work is done.

Telling myself the coming season will be the best yet is standard operating procedure. I’m usually right too. Weather can wreak havoc and varieties sometimes fail to meet my expectations, but more often than not, the garden exceeds my expectations.

Weather is a perennial wildcard. Temperatures need to climb above freezing every day. I got lucky and experienced no serious cold snaps with my last winter garden. Anything is possible. We had sub-zero temperatures for several days my first winter here.

Vegetables are most vulnerable to cold. I’ve planted Romaine lettuce (red and green varieties), butter crunch lettuce, and leaf lettuce (red and green varieties) that will be ready to eat in a matter of weeks. Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower won’t be ready before February or March. We’ll see what happens with the peas, beets, spinach, and turnips.

Pansies, violas, dianthus, and snapdragons can handle lows into the 20s with little or no damage. Snapdragons are deer resistant so nearly all went in the front yard. I also planted more than 100 bulbs (crocus, daffodils and anemones).

My back yard is on the east side of the house with a twelve-foot wall on the north side and eight-foot privacy fencing on the east and south sides. A days-long spell of subfreezing temperatures would do some damage but wouldn’t be fatal.

At least, that’s what I tell myself. Time will tell. I’ll keep you posted.