Yes, that’s snow

How’s the weather where you are?

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Better than here, I hope, especially if you’re a farmer trying to plant crops, or, like me, a market vegetable gardener.

This is April 26, 2016, southern Ontario, Canada, just south of the 45th Parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. And this snowstorm you’re seeing in these photos is not normal for this time of year. By this time I’ve usually been out in the garden for two weeks, cultivating the soil, and then planting some of the early, hardy crops like peas, definitely peas, beets, carrots, lettuce, and even potatoes.

I love growing potatoes. Why. I’m not sure; probably something to do with the basics of life, like rice in other parts of the world. But here in southern Ontario potatoes were often the absolutely essential first-crop the pioneer/homesteaders planted when they were working their hearts out to put down their first, challenging roots. I’ve heard stories about pioneer families here in Hope Ness surviving their first winter eating nothing but salt and potatoes grown the summer before on their newly-cleared, little patch of ground.

Even last year, after the coldest winter on record in Ontario, I had potatoes planted by the second week of April. This past winter was much milder, and spring was looking good in mid-March. Then we got this “comeback” phase of winter; but if you read my blog on a regular basis you’ll know we’ve been through that: the dreaded polar vortex, and the seemingly contradictory complexities of global warming and climate change. Expect the unexpected, be realistic about it; but when all is said and done rise to whatever challenge or opportunity the weather presents, keep putting one foot in front of the other, while repeating over and over, “all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

So in that spirit, I will go out today and buy a 50-lb bag of Yukon Gold seed potatoes to put in the ground alongside Irish Cobbler no later than next week. They’ll be side by side with rows of peas and onion sets.

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I send my best wishes your way, you natural farmers and gardeners out there at whatever crossroads in the global village: good planting, tending and harvesting, my friends. And if you’re ever by this way, drop in for a visit. You’re always welcome at Cathedral Drive Farm, Hope Ness. Snow, or no.

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