It seems unfair, but Environment Canada has issued a frost warning for N.B. tonight, just as most people were planning to plant petunias and put some steaks on the grill. It's been a long winter, and the day when we can shed thermal underwear and flannel sheets is a much-celebrated time. As the cold weather lingers, we keep hoping that the daytime temperature will rise to match the unemployment figures in this province (think double digits.)
|In the backyard today - sunny, but cold.|
|Cherry trees already in bloom will be frost-bitten tonight|
To offset my disappointment about delayed gardening, I'm working indoors, making seed tapes. Knox gelatin and toilet paper are key ingredients in this do-it-yourself project.
|1. Mix up a bowl of Knox unflavoured gelatin and let it set.|
|2. Separate the layers of 2-ply toilet paper.|
|3. Place a glob of gelatin on the tissue and add tiny seed. Space evenly.|
|4. Replace top layer of tissue and roll up.|
|5. When it's time to plant, create a trench, unroll the tape and cover with a layer of soil.|
The use of seed tapes ensures that your rows will be straight, and that the seedlings won't be overcrowded. (Have a look at last year's carrots and you'll understand exactly what I'm trying to avoid.) The gelatin glue in the tape adds a dose of nitrogen to the mix and the toilet paper disintegrates into the soil as compost.
Bundled up in my winter parka, I've planted several rows of the hardy seeds; peas, onions and beets. These are the vegetables I really admire, the ones that like true Canadians, can stand a bit of frost without wilting. The cold-sensitive plants - lettuce, tomatoes, beans, squash and peppers - will just have to wait.
|At the beach, May long weekend|