Growing a spring vegetable garden is uncharted territory for me, even more so in the desert wasteland of eastern Washington. There must be a reason this is the desert…nothing is naturally meant to grow here. Yes, there is a hint of bitterness in my tone. A premature unveiling of the cloches in conjunction with recent days of winds and fluctuating weather are making my spring transplants turn a complete 180. They appeared to have survived throughout the weekend and looked completely fine on Monday morning, but by the end of the day some of the bok choy, kale, and peas were wilting. Even a thorough watering didn’t help. Today, I found half of my peas chomped in half by some parasitic creature, the rest of the unsheltered leafy plants shriveled like raisins and faded in color.
I couldn’t find any useful or detailed information on spring vegetable gardening in the desert online, particularly THIS desert. I made the mistake of removing the plant protection too early, but I also faced the dilemma of the plants growing too big to fit within the plastic drink bottles (some of the leaves that were being pushed up against the walls of the bottles appeared to be yellowing/browning at the edges). So what alternative did I have? It’s too late now to restart these plants. Maybe my best bet would have been to construct hoop houses for the spring garden (however, this is something I don’t think I should invest in yet given that my residence here is temporary). Or, I should just swallow my pride and admit that I can’t grow spring plants in this climate, give it a rest, and just focus on the heat-loving vegetables for the intense summers here. C’est la vie. At least I still have my root crops.