February 25, 2018 was a pleasant, warm and sunny day. The winter had been on the mild and dry side. Although a winter storm had left several inches of snow only days before, spring-like warmth and sunshine surged into the area. Finding the garden soil thawed but not too wet, I took the opportunity to rototill the entire garden and to sow triple rows of spinach and sweet peas. I also started kale and broccoli down in the basement under a lamp.
Since that weekend, the weather has been remarkably and disagreeably cold and overcast. The highs have struggled to reach a seasonable 50 degrees and the lows frequently have dipped into the upper teens, well into April. It is now mid-April but up north much of Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and south-eastern Minnesota has been paralyzed with up to a foot of new snow or a half-inch of freezing rain. Or both. The Chicago-area was spared much of this, enduring heavy cold rains and gale force winds.
Despite the longer days, they have been more cloudy than sunny. Combined with the freezing nights, the trees have had little incentive to bud.
Tulips and daffodils have emerged as have the garlic that I planted last fall. The only flowers have been snowdrops, crocuses, periwinkle and a dandelion here and there. The spinach has also sprouted and emerged, but has yet to grow true leaves. The sweet peas have barely sprouted and remain under the soil. The strawberry plants I planted last year have showed little sign of new growth.
The broccoli and kale seedlings have two to three sets of true leaves but I have yet to transplant them for fear that the excessively cold nights would freeze the shallow roots. I have moved them into the garage in a west-facing window, where the cool and relative lack of light will slow their growth as they are starting to become root bound in their little starter pots.
NEW GARDEN (SPRING/SUMMER)
In the garage
The long term forecast indicates that the probability for cool and wet weather shall persist across the upper Midwest and northern great plains. This shall be followed by a greater than normal probability for a warmer than normal beginning of summer.
postscript: my onion plants arrived in the mail. Crap.