A Balmy Winter

I despise cold weather, but a move south isn’t in the cards. Living in an area with four distinct seasons is mandatory. Suffering through winter–my least-favorite season–enhances my appreciation for the other three.

Fortunately, what passes for winter here is typically short and mild. Even so, spring can’t come soon enough for me. By January 31, I’ve had my fill of short days, cloudy skies, and subfreezing temperatures. Persistent wintry weather makes February feel like the longest month rather than the shortest.

Not this year. February was downright balmy. The coldest weather this winter hit in December. January was also relatively mild.

Spring is busting out all over. I’ve got quite a few hyacinths (one of many favorite flowers) and they’re all blooming. Pansies, windflowers, crocus, and a few daffodils are blooming too.

I’ve cooked collards several times and finally have enough spinach and lettuce to make a salad. The Brussels sprouts are forming heads. I’m not holding out much hope for the cabbage but am keeping my fingers crossed that the peas that just came up produce before it gets too hot.

This year, I have 21 packets of seed to start. Maxing out my limited seed-starting setup has been my biggest concern. A hardcopy seed-starting schedule keeps me on track with what to plant and when. A smarter man would have used a spreadsheet.

Flats of newly-sown seed start out with covers under LED lights–usually on a mat for bottom heat. Keeping the soil moist is the key to success. After seeds sprout, I remove the cover and, if needed, thin seedlings to one per cell. Hardier varieties go straight to the coldframe to harden off. The rest stay inside until space opens up in the coldframe.

Inside, I have two flats under lights with flowering tobacco (24), stock (8) and Wave petunias (16). Impatiens, bell peppers, and tomatoes (3 varieties) haven’t come up yet. I’ll start ten more varieties over the next few weeks.

The coldframe is full. Half is devoted to bare-root delphiniums I saw at Lowe’s and couldn’t resist. Should the need for more space arise, they can be moved out. Black-eyed Susans (18) and marigolds (36 ‘Happy Days’ and 16 ‘Elevate’) fill the remaining space.

So far, so good. The forecast looks great. Finding room to plant everything will be the next challenge. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

2 responses to “A Balmy Winter”

  1. Wow, I salute your organization and persistence. We don’t usually have significant winter issues, but this year has been very different. Amazingly, most of my plants are surviving, and we’ve been enjoying lettuce and mixed greens with regularity. I’ve been participating in seed swaps, so I have new types of plants to explore. I envy the breadth of your collection and will look forward to watching your garden grow. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Glad to hear your plants have survived. The worst is behind us (fingers crossed!). Thanks for stopping by!