A garden is the best alternative therapy.

Spring Plans

Wow, it is hard to believe it has been two months since my last post.  The wedding and the holidays made everything a whirlwind.

I spent almost no time outside minding my plants during this time and it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally went into the backyard to assess everything.  Surprisingly, despite the hard freezes we’ve endured, and despite (or because of!) my neglect, the plants are doing okay.

I harvested herbs to use for dinner, trimmed some dead portions of the parsley and mint plants, pulled up a dozen carrots for dinner and did some composting.   The carrots were outstanding.  My daughter couldn’t stop commenting how good they were, both their texture and their flavor.  I don’t know which variety was which, but they were both good.

I still have about a hundred carrots out there still maturing.  The broccoli plants – all nine of them – have lost a couple leaves here and there, but they are maturing still as well.  They have not started to flower.  I expected them to start flowering towards the end of December, but the cold weather set in and their growth slowed.  Perhaps now they’ll flower and I may be enjoying some broccoli in about a month.

The spinach plants continue to disappoint.  They are developing more leaves, but they are still very small.  Still, I can’t say that they are stunted – just growing extremely slowly.   Even the lettuce is really slow, and they started off good.  I’m going to blame it on the cold weather and less sun.  I’m hoping the plants will soak up this good weather and take off.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

The herb garden is looking kinda sad.  The two sage and two thyme plants look like they didn’t fare the freeze too well, but there is a lot of new growth so I’m not worried about them.  The rest of the herbs are fine.  Wait – I don’t know if I wrote this or not, but I did have to pull up the basil after the first frost, and put some potted rosemary plants in their place for the time being.  I’ll plant more in the Spring along with more chives.

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As for Spring planting, I’ve got plans to do it all again.  Right now I have 36 seeds sown inside.  I sowed them this past Sunday and last night the Broccoli was already coming up.  I still need to go and get some lights, but for now they are sitting by a sunny window.  I’ve got six seeds of each of the following sown as of 1/17 (all organic seeds):

Tendergreen bush beans

Blue Lake bush beans

Ring-O-Fire cayenne peppers

Cal Wonder orange bell peppers

Calabrese broccoli

Bloomsdale spinach

I’m probably really early on the beans (generally you want to transplant after four weeks), but I have plenty and can sow more later if need be.  The peppers I’ll grow inside until April before putting them out because they are so tender.  The broccoli and spinach both have a limited window of opportunity right now and I have to have them well-established by the end of March or I can forget about it.

Within the next few weeks, I’ll also be planting more lettuce.  I’ve got the three varieties (Red Sail, Cosmo Savoy and Buttercrunch), but I’ll also be trying an organic lettuce mix as well.

As the carrots are pulled up, I’ll sow more through February (Big Top and Danver’s Half-Long).

I’ll also be starting Mexican Mint Marigold/Tarragon as an addition to the herb garden, and to attract more bees and butterflies.  I should do that in the next week or two.

I’ll be buying transplants for tomatoes and green bell peppers.  It seems they’re a lot easier that way.  I can’t do that until April.

At the first of March, though, I will sow seeds for Black Beauty zucchini, Yellow Crookneck Squash and Straight Eight Cucumbers.

If all goes well, I should have a total of fifteen different veggies and about ten herbs.

The cuphea was dead, not surprisingly.  Since we may only get a couple of light frosts the rest of winter, I went ahead and pruned it back to about two inches above the dirt.  It may come back, it may not.  I probably should have mulched it.

The lavender is no worse for the wear and the wildflowers are growing profusely along the back fence.  They should put up a good show in a couple of months.  I can’t wait!

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