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Gardening Starts in the Window

When you live in the far northern reaches of the U.S., you have to adapt your gardening techniques to accommodate the late spring. We generally have snow on the ground well into April. It’s a rare year that we can get into the garden before Mother’s Day, and usually we don’t transplant the seedlings out until after Memorial Day. I know! Half of you are almost done gardening by then! But we soldier on.

My planting schedule looks like this:

1st Wed. in March – plant the sweet peppers and cayenne peppers

3rd Wed. in March – plant tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel’s Sprouts, and celery

2nd Wed. in April – plant the cucumbers, pickles, zucchini, and winter squash

1st Wed. in May – plant the pole beans and dill

 I start the plants in my living room bow window which—thankfully—faces south. As soon as most of the snow clears and it’s staying above freezing during the days, I set up my portable greenhouse with a heat lamp inside and move the plants out. I run the heat lamp on a timer to come on at dusk and turn off a couple of hours past dawn.

 I will transplant my tomatoes and peppers at least twice in this time period, moving them into larger pots and strengthening their root bases. I’ll transplant the cabbages, other brassicas, and celery once. The rest I start in their individual pods because they don’t like their roots messed with.

Rattlesnake beans

 By the time I move my plants into the garden, the tomatoes are usually in blossom, the pole beans are sending out their shoots, the vine crops are ready to trellis, and the cabbages and other brassicas are well into their 4th or 5th sets of leaves.


I come from a long line of farmers—not my parents, but my grandparents on both sides—and I think gardening is in my blood. I can’t imagine not spending those hours with my fingers in the dirt, coaxing little plants into rows of canning jars or layers of freezer bags come fall.

About the Writer/Gardener:

Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. They raise sheep and chickens, plus keep a few barn cats and Murphy the spoiled rotten dog. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” Pegg is published in five Barbour inspirational historical romance collections, won the 2019 FHL Reader’s Choice Award, was a double-finalist for the 2019 ACFW Carol Award for novellas, and a finalist for the 2019 ACFW Editor of the Year. Pegg also works as the managing editor of Smitten Historical Romance, an imprint LPC with Iron Stream Media. When not working or writing, Pegg can be found in her barn, her garden, her kitchen, or sitting at her spinning wheel creating yarn to turn into her signature wool shawls.





The Blacksmith Brides: 4 Historical Stories

Blacksmith Brides: 4 Historical Stories by [Amanda Barratt, Angela K Couch, Pegg Thomas, Jennifer Uhlarik]

Hearts Are Forged by the Flames of Gentle Love in 4 Historical Stories

Worth Fighting For (1774—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) by Pegg Thomas
Talk of war has surrounded Meg McCracken, including her father and four brothers. Alexander Ogilvie doesn’t care about the coming war; his plans are to head west. When Meg comes to his smithy, sparks fly off more than the forge. But can they build anything during unstable times?



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