Springing Forward

The eternal optimist in me believes a mid-March cold snap marked the end of freezing temperatures here in Athens. Locals say wait until Good Friday to plant tender annuals. Not me. I’m too impatient to wait any longer to jump into spring.

The falling Mercury brought my seed-starting operation to a halt. I was out of space, indoors and out. Things kept growing, of course, but until space opened up elsewhere, starting more seed wasn’t possible.

When things warmed up, I planted a flat of marigolds (two varieties) that had been sheltering in the coldframe. I also removed the still-dormant bare root delphiniums planted over a month ago. Hope springs eternal, but the odds they’ll come up decrease with each passing day. .

Other long-time coldframe residents (flowering tobacco, stock, and Wave petunias) aren’t yet big enough for the garden. Experience has taught me to wait. Tiny transplants die because I forget where they were planted and fail to water them, pull them as weeds, or mulch over them.

All four flats indoors (the most I have space for under lights) were moved to the coldframe. That’s a lot of plants! Okra, cucumbers, three varieties of tomatoes, and four kinds of peppers will only need a few days in the coldframe. The rest (globe amaranth, two kinds of zinnias, and two kinds of nasturtiums) will need more time.

I just started some moon vine, castor beans, cosmos and Mexican sunflowers. They will likely be the last I start until late summer. I’m tickled pink. Of the 20 varieties planted before the last batch, all but one came up. The failure–impatiens–was probably due to old seed.

Starting seed is the easy part. Getting the little plants to thrive is a bigger challenge. Some will do better than others. I love the flowers but am most excited to see how the vegetables do. As always, I’ll keep you posted.