The Songs Have Started

There is a boggy area in my backyard right next to my garden. Every year, winter snow and rain fills the bog. In the spring, toads frolic to my backyard to make lots of wee toad babies. (Did you know that about 80% of male toads return to the place where they were spawned during mating season?) Their croaking starts gently, and by the time spring is in full swing, it's incredibly loud. 

Toad hanging out in my garden.


When the songs start, I know spring is coming. I took said songs as a sign to build a row cover / small hoop house. It's covered in 6 mil plastic for now, and when it heats up outside the plastic will be replaced with tulle.

I bought an outdoor thermometer to monitor the temperature, and it was 80*F under the cover. Our 10 day forecast is pretty mild, so I decided to take a chance and planted my swiss chard today. It has been hardening off for a little over 2 weeks.

5.5 week old swiss chard ready for the garden

The row cover - PVC frame covered in 6 mil plastic sheeting

One of the really cool things about chard is that the roots are the same color as the leaves.

Yellow swiss chard

My goal this year is to grow 500 pounds of food for my family. So far, I'm at 4 ounces (I harvested my basil plants for a lasagna). I have 16 chard plants under the row cover, and sowed spinach, arugula, and radishes.

Swiss chard planted

Do you like swiss chard? Is the weather hospitable enough for you to get gardening?



  1. I know you want to post directions on how you built that row cover with a shopping list! :D

    Well done, Gail! I think it looks awesome!

  2. I am in love with the fact that you can garden already. It totally makes me want to just hop over the two states separating us so I can garden in February, too. We're not even THAT far away, but we don't even dare start seedlings until mid-April because they can't be hardened off and planted until late May or early June.
    For now I'll just ogle your gardening photos and dream of April for my own. :-D