Early Spring Planting
Gardeners tend to have a good memory of how our local weather patterns work. The recent cold snap has come to an end and so I am guessing that we have a good three weeks until the next hard frost. I am taking advantage of the warm weather while it lasts. It has been a very busy week in the garden and greenhouse. There is just so much to get done this time of year and I have so many ideas. I find myself wishing for more time! Thank goodness that the daylight hours are getting longer. The added hours of light are glorious and they do make a difference. I am amazed that it is even light at dinner again and we enjoy an outside view while we eat.
I began lots of seeds in the greenhouse. Both flowers and vegetables. I drop these tiny seeds into their cells of soil. It is like magic when they germinate and grow multiple sets of leaves. I am continually filled with incredulity that teensy grains contain all the information and directions necessary to transform into the the large flowering plants of my garden and into all the blooms that fill my bouquets.
Many of the seeds I started this week will grow into plants I will sell at my Garden Stand. While it is still fairly early in the season to start many of these, I want to offer nice plump and mature bedding plants and vegetable starts.
Among the vegetables I seeded are tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant. And mini orange bell peppers for my daughter who loves sweet peppers (and who is disappointed that we cannot buy and bring these across the border unless we remove all the seeds in the grocery store parking lot!) I have a few favourite tomato varieties that I grow every year such as Orange Banana and Cherry Buzz. Last year I grew Red Torch for the first time and this lightly striped, elongated tomato has been added to my must grow list. I am not the only one who loved this tomato. I have had customers request that I make this this variety available again and I am happy to do so. I am adding a couple of new types this year that I am excited about: Chocolate Lightning and Chocolate Champion. Usually, heirloom tomatoes and interesting cultivars are long season varieties that don't grow too successfully in the PNW climate. They barely get a chance to ripen before the first frost. We have cool nights all summer and even our hot days would be considered mild in comparison to other regions - especially right on the coast where I live. I won't grow a tomato that is listed as more than seventy days until ripening. So I was excited that both of these unusual varieties meet this requirement and they sound like they have great flavour. Of course, flavour is most important of all!
I transplanted the first of my hardy annuals -also known as cool flowers- out into my beds. Thrilling. I am growing extra statice this year, and this was among the plants I put out. I planted extra because I love using them in bouquets and I plan to make many more dried flower wreaths this year for custom mail order in addition to having these at Your Local Small Market. I really love flowers like statice that appear to be dried while still fresh on the plant. What a marvel.
Other cool flowers that I transplanted into my garden this week are bupleurum, nigella, scabiosa, bachelor buttons and sweet peas. If you are growing any of these in zone 8, this is a fantastic time to put them out (but have some row cover on hand for extra support when we get our next freeze). Theoretically, you should be able to start these in the garden right now through direct seeding. In reality, however, I find this rarely works because the slugs and sow bugs get to them first. If you are nowhere near getting these plants in the ground, don't despair. You are not late! I have a lot of tree cover around my yard and so I have to catch as much sun as possible when I can. Early planting is one of my tricks. Plus, I am growing my flowers to put together for others and I want the longest season of blooms that I can have. And...I am always itching to get out in the garden, all year long. Planting early extends my outdoor season, too!
Thanks for sharing in my week.
All the best,
PS I still have dahlia tubers for sale.