Usually by this time of year the sun is blazing in all it’s glory. The garden abounding with beans, tomatoes, zucchini and the like, the lawn turning an attractive mustard, burnt color, Ahhh the heat. That is certainly not the case this year. Due to the late spring this season’s harvest seems delayed – by a lot. Both the tomato plants I started from seed in January, as well as the tomato plants that I bought in May have only yielded a handful of produce this year, whereas in other years there have been grocery bags full of ruby red tomatoes of all sizes by this time. After hearing newscasters this winter and spring go on and on about a ‘polar vortex’ that was taking place, and predicting milder temperatures in the coming months I was skeptical. It sounded a bit made up to me, I may have even scoffed a little. Well, it’s time for me to eat my words of disbelief, they may be the only things to ripen this year.
I planted vegetable seeds at the beginning of February. I live in Kanata, Ontario, Canada, hardiness zone 4b. According to Environment Canada, our frost dates are May 12 and October 15. This year has seen a harsh winter and had me pining for warmer weather. Mental images of lush spinach, plump tomatoes and green beans, have influenced me to attempt starting some plants from seed this year instead of buying established seedlings from the store (as well as the desire to save a bit of coin). After 2 weeks of watching dirt being dirt I spotted a few tiny sprouts of spinach vying to make their way into the world. By the end of the next week most of squares in my starter trays bore little sprouts from spinach, cherry tomato, big tomato and cabbage seeds. The fact that all of the sprouts looked remarkably similar, identical in fact had me a little concerned that somehow I’d managed to mislabel the trays, until I read that these first two leaves of a sprout are not in fact “true leaves” but rather “cotyledons”. Whereas cotyledons all look the same, it is the next two leaves that sprout, the “true leaves” that bear a plant’s unique form. I hoarded my little seedlings in front of the sliding doors at the back of the house where they can photosynthesize as much sun as possible. I am eager for them to grow, flourish and nourish my cravings for fresh produce.