Here I was thinking the growing season was shaping up so nicely. Cover crop cut down in early March, biomass and fish fertilizer turned into the soil with plenty of time to break down. No foot-dragging this year about the overwintered kale, which I chopped and composted early. Seeds went in apace, and nothing to expect but forward progress from there. Indeed, the spinach and chard are now up and growing. But a glance around the patch and the depressing fact is that everybody else’s plots are already flush with lettuces, beets, and peas.

Meantime you can barely see the green stuff in ours.

Who doesn’t want to keep up with the Joneses? And yet we only seem to fall further behind. Yesterday on a fly-by with the Biscuit, I transplanted three parsley seedlings and that was pushing it. My home tomato starts are barely on their second set of leaves, and the pumpkin sprouts that I left out overnight last week turned white and stunted.

So no more relying on just the goodness of Nature. I’ve wrapped simple plastic tents around the pumpkins and lettuces and basil, little personal greenhouses that trap the sun’s warmth for chilly nights, and the plants seem to be perking up. We’re going to abandon home grown for bigger, healthier tomato starts from the farmer’s market. And I’ll dig some of my worm bin compost into the soil around heavy feeders like zucchini a couple of weeks hence, a habit that reaped dividends in prior years.

What’s your favorite trick for speeding up the season?

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