This week we broke low temperature records dating back to 1937 and now we’re hearing that next week is really going to be cold so I’m not going to bother removing the covers even though we’re warming back up into the low 70’s with night time lows over 50 for the next few days. It’s not only unusually cold for so early in the season, it’s also unusual to have a series of cold snaps so close together. You’re probably wondering how the garden made out under the blankets. So was I; so I lifted up one side enough to let me crawl under. What I found was that the two tomato plants that had triple covers look fine but the plant with only one cover was hammered. That gives me a hint that we probably did get below the freezing point but not dramatically so. The winter crops did great which was expected. I was actually surprised to find that it was downright toasty under the double covered areas. I’ve got some onion starts and potato chunks that I’d like to get in the ground but will probably wait until this next cold spell passes. Both can handle cold but why get them off to a chilly start when it’s not really necessary. By then I might also have some new cabbages, cauliflowers, and lettuce plants ready for the garden.
The seed catalogs are rolling in so my thoughts automatically switch to next season’s crops even though there are still plenty of winter crops to go. I actually start some of the warm weather stuff indoors in January for garden transplant in March so this is the right time to be selecting seeds. Since it appears that maybe I have the garden soil under better control, I’m going to stretch out and try a couple of new items that would have been impossible a year ago. How about Tomatoberry’s. These are cherry tomatoes shaped like large strawberries – according to the catalog, this is the latest rage. The newly enlarged garden has me ready to give corn another try. Corn takes a large chunk of the garden so it really hurts the whole program if you have a crop failure. I tried twice earlier with poor results and decided not to waste my time or space last summer. I had such great success with the Butternut squash this past season, that I’m going to plant a few within the corn patch so that space will have a double shot at producing – if one crop crashes, the space can still be productive. I’m also buying a different variety of Okra than I’ve tried in the past. My problem has been that the okra I’ve grown gets woody too soon and after three attempts, still near zero success. I talked to the horticulturist at one of the seed companies to find out what I’m doing wrong and he suggested using a particular variety that I had not tried, Annie Oakley II. It’s a no brainer to try because Okra does well in the extreme heat that kills most everything else and the worst thing that can happen is that we do without okra again.
The Urban era is over – again. My biggest concern is that the incoming recruits hold tight so it’s important that a new coach be named quickly and that it be a recognizable name. My first choice would be Bob Stoops, followed by John Gruden, followed by Bill Mullins, followed by Simon. It would be fun for tweaking purposes if the Missouri or Utah coach got the nod but with the big 12 conference falling apart, my money is on Stoops. He was a great coach at Florida before and certainly has done well at OU. Kind of interesting that both Florida and Miami are in the coach hunt at the same time.