Friday, May 1, 2009

Signs of Spring in North Idaho

After the last two longer-than-normal winters we have experienced here, it does not take one long to really appreciate the first signs of spring. The woods come alive with the thumping of ruffed grouse, the crowing of pheasants and the gobbling of turkeys. The chipmunks reappear from their long hibernation searching and scurrying about on the ground looking for food.
For us humans it's time to start planning our veggie garden, mend fences for the arrival of our beef steers and one of my favorite spring diversions, morel hunting. We found some of our first morels of the season just last weekend. Coral mushrooms come out during the second half of morel season and will post some picture of those then we find one.
I have to admit that I am running a little behind on the veggie garden but the weather is so cool this spring I think it will be okay. We will be planting this weekend sugar snap peas and lettuce. I have started my tomato plants on the first day of spring and they seem so tiny compared to the ones I see at the stores which are available right now. I seem to always cave in and buy a couple tomato plants because mine seem so small by the time I plant them the first week of June. But the funny thing is that small they may be the always end up as big as the store bought plants and produce more. I'm going to stay strong this year and resist the urge to buy any tomato plants. I have 20 started plants right now all along our south-facing window sills. Hopefully seeing the big trees out there will inspire them to grow big!
A One Pound Plus Moskvich
My two favorite types to grow here are Moskvich which is a Siberian beefsteak type hybrid and Red Agate which is a determinate saucing variety. I plant a lot of the other favorites, too, like Sungolds and Brandywines which also produce well during our short season.
Emma with a Red Agate
All the tomatos pictures on this post are from our 2007 season. We had tomatos last year but only few fully ripened to color in the garden and a majority of them had to be bagged until ripe. I attended the North Idaho Fair that year and did not see one red tomato! It made me feel so much better to see the blue ribbon winners were big green tomatos. Not that misery enjoys company but I figured if these folks that really know what they are doing still have green tomatos in August then I must not be too much of a failure after all!

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