Gardening here in Denver can be... well... a bit of a challenge. Our weather tends to be a bit unpredictable, especially in the spring and fall, and without any large bodies of water around to moderate the temperature, extremes are not uncommon here... but they seem to becoming much more frequent these days.
So, I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise that while last week this time we had high temperatures in the 80's, today we have a big storm moving in and predictions are for 4-8 inches of snow over the next few days.
It's a little bit hard to complain about this since we desperately need the moisture... but... really? 4-8 inches of snow on Mother's Day?
Anyhow, in keeping with my "gardening lite" plan for the year, I decided to skip starting seeds indoors, and purchased some seedlings from a nursery about a month ago. My goal was to keep them indoors until mid-May, but alas - they grew faster than I had anticipated.
So here's where my other gardening challenge comes into play - cats. My babies don't go outdoors, so window space is at a premium here. When you add in the fact that Smoky will eat anything green, whether or not it will kill him... well, protecting the seedlings from the cats and vice versa becomes quite a challenge.
The seedlings very quickly outgrew this first cat protection device. This system had the added disadvantage that the plants would overheat when in the direct sunlight, so I ended up having to move them inside and out every day... and still managed to singe the tips of the leaves on a few of them.
Sooo... then I had another brilliant plan. When I first rescued Princess she was pretty darned freaked out by the whole indoor experience. She didn't understand litter boxes at all, and she had to be kept separate from the other cats until we where sure she was FIV/FELV negative, and if left on her own in a room she would go hide, and I was quite worried that she'd end up getting hurt or getting into some tiny place where I couldn't get her out.
So I bought her a "stress cage" which is really just a big cage where you put the cat with a litter box, bed (in her case kitty heating pad) and food - and you can cover the whole thing with a blanket to help them get over the freakout factor.
There she is in her cage... poor thing, had to have most of her little body shaved because she was covered with so many mats.
Anyhow, the cage has just been sitting empty for the past 3 years, so I figured, maybe I could haul it upstairs and put the plants inside the cage to keep them safe from Mr. Marauder Cat. Seemed like a great idea... only, the cage was kinda... well, enormous!
Smoky rather enjoyed his new lookout, but I decided it was overkill, and that the hassle of dealing with the curtains and squeezing past it every time I went in or out was a deal killer... besides, by that point I'd already given up on the tomatoes and put them in the ground, so it was really just the peppers. Anyhow, maybe if I decide to go all next year and do early seedlings I could set it up in the basement with grow lights or something.
But for the moment... the plants all went outside in their wall-o-water plant protectors.
They're actually doing great... and that's my concern! If they were smaller they'd be fairly protected down inside the little shelter, but they're getting so big that the tops might get nipped by the cold, so I gave them all an extra covering this morning.
The only other things that are up are the peas and potatoes, so they also got covered.
Truth be told, the peas would probably be just fine without the frost cloth, but hey, it was easy insurance. It does feel like I've managed to make my easier & simpler gardening year a bit more complicated though! Oh well... best laid plans...
I suppose there's always the "make lemonade" approach...
So tell me... has anybody else started their garden yet? How's the weather in your neck of the woods?