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Planning Your Garden for Unpredictability

Part of a garden’s allure is its rhythm. The arrival of spring each year signals a beginning, and with it an opportunity to imagine and to plan the months ahead. Yet, while we may strive to schedule, to plan, to organize, even the best laid plans mean nothing when a Farmer’s Almanac proves unreliable, weather wreaks havoc, and unpredictability becomes what is predictable.

Frost: The Known Unknown

With a frost dates calculator, you can easily find out the average “last frost” and “first frost” in your town. These dates, as their names suggest, provide a rough guideline for when you can first plant in the spring and when you can expect your final fall harvests.

Averages, though, are just that. An unexpected and early frost can spell devastation to your crops, and put a premature end to your summer harvests. How then, can we plan, when so much is unplannable?


The True Seasonal Eater

As the locavore movement transitions from passing fad to true cultural shift, more and more consumers are aware that a tomato in January isn’t going to taste quite right. The differences in growing seasons from Massachusetts to New Hampshire can be enormous. Even the changes between two microclimates – the difference from Boston to Worcester – can make an enormous difference.

To truly eat seasonally, then, is to understand that we can plan in broad strokes, but must know that these plans will change. Eating seasonally means knowing what the season of your garden is, not just of the area.  There are guidelines to when you should plant in your garden, and there are no set rules. Having a good bank of knowledge to deploy will prepare you to keep your garden in shape, but ultimately a sense of flexibility and adaptability is just as important.


Teaching Flexibility

If an early frost does come, then, and we are left with bushels of green tomatoes what can we do? If it’s up to our friend Desiree, you turn those green tomatoes into fried green tomato breakfast sandwiches! Suddenly, a shocking frost might be the best news of your season!


Time to ditch the plans, and start cooking!

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