Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What's Growin' On: 3/14/07

First Of The Daffodils

Realization Of The Day:
Spring has sprung. Two days ago it was 80 degrees outside. We actually opened the windows to warm up the house.

Apparently Mother Nature doesn't care one bit that I am totally unprepared for spring. This photo was taken on the 8th and was one of only a handful of blooms. Now the yard is full of them. (Thank goodness for cheerful perennials that require no effort on my part.) When I mentioned missing the color yellow in my last post (written over a month ago? how is that possible?), I had completely forgotten that the first flowers to come up here are the daffodils. I guess Mother Nature does care about me after all.

If your gardening brain is still stuck in January like mine (why am I having so much trouble grasping the idea that it is March?) fear not--you are among friends. Well, actually you probably should be fearful. If we don't get a move on and start some seeds real soon, we're not going to have anything to eat in a couple of months.

It looks like this will be the year I plant nearly all of my seeds directly into my raised garden beds. I usually start dozens and dozens of types of seeds indoors (or in the greenhouse) in flats of little containers, but as far as the cooler season crops are concerned, I've missed the deadline by a longshot.

In a way it's kind of a relief. It'll be nice not to have those hundreds of rootbound, dying-to-be-transplanted seedlings staring guiltily at me every time I get near them. As of right now there are only about two dozen of them, and that's plenty. They're the broccoli seedlings I started way back in early January when I was sure this was going to be The Year Of The Massive Broccoli Crop. Not gonna happen. That one beautiful little broccoli head in the greenhouse? While it was covered with blankets and sheets during the single digit temps, something somehow sneaked under them and ate it. Munched the entire thing off, as well as all the tiny side shoots. I still can't believe it.

The scraggly seedlings had been bravely clinging to life under the flourescent shop light I have tucked under a bookshelf in my office while I spent weeks and weeks ignoring them. They nearly perished when I forgot to water them for, um, a while, but once I finally did they (of course) sprang back to life, so I sprinkled some compost around them and set them in the greenhouse. Maybe I'll get them transplanted into individual plugs. Probably not. I might try putting them straight out into the garden instead--save a step and some time.

The nice thing about broccoli plants is that even if you get yours in the ground too late for a decent head of broccoli to form, you can still harvest plenty of bounty. Yep, all those tender little leaves can go straight into your salad bowl. They're quite tasty, and you know they must be super good for you. Broccoli is one of the few vegetables where we eat only the florets--but there's simply no reason for that.

I did sow some seeds in the greenhouse last week--mostly lettuce. But I realized this morning that was probably a stupid thing to do, as the greenhouse will start heating up like crazy with these warm and sunny days. Lettuce is only too willing to turn bitter and bolt, which is why if I wanted a greenhouse spring lettuce crop, I should have started it back in, oh, January.

But of course that's where my gardening brain still is, isn't it?

Next week the moon will be in the first quarter, which is the best time to start most seeds (except squash, tomatoes, and peppers, but I'm going to anyway), as well as onions. I'll be starting seeds and planting onion sets (barring any unforeseen lambing crises) on the 21st and 22nd as they are the fertile days. Wondering what all this minding the moonsign business is? Click here to read more about it. But be warned--once you find out about all the "bad" times to plant, your gardening schedule might be thrown even more out of whack. If nothing else, it'll give you yet one more thing to fear. On the other hand, if you don't follow the rules and have crop failure, at least you'll have somewhere to lay the blame.

P.S. My apologies (once again) to those of you who asked questions in comments and haven't received a reply. If you're still wondering about something, you're always welcome to e-mail me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.


  1. Welcome Back!

    I was afriad that Cary was now in charge of garden duty and had eaten all your seeds for a mid-day snack.

    I used to start all my own plants...I had seedlings everywhere. I couldn't use the stove for weeks.

    Now I buy all my plants. It's less work. Less expensive (I swear). No guilt for the 3 foot tomato seedlings.

    But my hearts sinks everytime I see a package of Jiffy 7s. I miss tickling the baby tomato plants.

  2. our spring beets and onions are in. onion sets are up above the mulch. arugula and other greens are just peeking their little first leaves. tomato seeds have been started for a while.

    moonsigns, i'm not sure whether i'm prepared to add another variable to our already near impossible planting schedule. juggling three kids, work, a milk cow and the weather is already too much.

    tabitha has started a garden blog to keep track our garden so we might learn as much as possible for next year.

  3. Onion sets are up, potato plants up about 3 inches, 17 tomato plants in place and LOTS more to plant. Only starting a few peppers inside - hated to pay the price for specialty bell pepper plants when a package of seed was less than $2! Going to try some corn and beans this year - hoping that somehow the racoons and deer will be distracted. Of course they ate the melons last year so what is the definition of a gardener = "eternal optimist". BTW - we don't follow any guidelines on planting other than probable dates of last freeze and soil temps. Even soil temp is done by thrusting a bare hand into garden soil! Your daffydillies look wonderful - a sure sign of the wonderful warm days to come.

  4. "But be warned--once you find out about all the "bad" times to plant, your gardening schedule might be thrown even more out of whack. If nothing else, it'll give you yet one more thing to fear. On the other hand, if you don't follow the rules and have crop failure, at least you'll have somewhere to lay the blame."

    Heh - on you! You got me addicted to this moonsign business. Oh, you're such an enabler, Susan.


    Glad to see you posting on this one again.


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!

I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!