Treating my Spring Fever

Groundhog’s Day has come and gone. Shadow or not, the prospect of an early spring makes me want to garden. Unseasonably mild weather in recent weeks is testing my resolve to avoid planting too early.

Digging up day lilies to expand my veggie garden scratched my itch for several days. They came from Dad’s garden in 2012 and were supposed to be double–not the single orange variety commonly known as ditch lilies. I moved a few to the back and bagged the rest for quarterly-ish leaf and limb collection.

II held off an extra week before starting the first seed for the 2024 season. I started Muhlenbergia ‘Undaunted’ (a perennial ornamental grass) in late January. I’d planned to start eight of the fifteen seeds in the packet, but the tiny seed were so small, I ended up sprinkling them over two four-packs. They’ll be transplanted to individual pots when they get three leaves (per directions).

Last week, I started four each of green peppers and three kinds of tomatoes, a dozen Wave petunias, and a dozen Bunny Tails–an annual ornamental grass alleged to be deer resistant. The next round, in about two weeks, includes an as yet undetermined number of marigolds, zinnias, globe amaranths and nasturtiums.

My seed-starting space is limited to two shelves with lights. Germination and growth depend on soil temperature. Putting seedlings out too early–even in the coldframe–is counterproductive. Thinking about the space needed to get the first three of five rounds ready to plant makes me anxious.

My eyes are always bigger than my garden. I’ll make it work. Before I start more seed, I’m hand-drawing a scale diagram of my entire yard. Progress was slow before I switched from a metal tape measure to the measure app on my phone.

Creating a diagram is worth the effort because it solves a lot of problems. There are design apps, but doing it the hard way keeps me busy and is frankly easier to see. I have construction paper to cut into appropriately-sized circles for each variety. I’ve started the first of what I expect will be several drafts.

A good diagram will give me a better idea about what to start which, in turn, will prevent over-plantng. Adding the day lily bed helps. As with my aquarium, good health depends on the appropirate number of occupants for the space.

With apologies for what should have been two posts, here’s an update on the winter garden. I’d already uploaded the pics and didn’t want to waste them.

The broccoli is producing side shoots. The crowns apparently didn’t survive an early deep freeze. I’ve been harvesting single servings every few days and am looking forward to a nice pot of collard greens in the near future.

A three-foot stalk of Brussels sprouts from the grocery store makes me want to throw in the towel. Clearly, I’m not doing something right. I’m about there with cabbage too.

The sole-surviving Swiss chard looks great. I suspect the other five were trampled by a zooming chi-weenie. I planted the Swiss chard and mustard greens from the coldframe to give lettuce and spinach room to grow.

Despite the mild forecast, more cold weather is highly likely. Sub-freezing tempratures are possible into April. I’m planning to add another light for a third shelf indoors and hoping that and a good plan will get me to spring. As always, I’ll keep you posted.