Sunday, February 26, 2012

Summer Begins in February

Even though it's been a warm winter, it hasn't been exactly summer-like, and even though I've been enjoying the vegetables of winter, I have been hankering after some fresh summertime veggies. The good and the bad news is that a lot of summertime veggies need to get their start long before summer. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, in particular, have a long time-to-maturity, which means their seeds need to be planted indoors now, or even a week or two ago.

I had thought about starting some seeds earlier, but last week I was in Oklahoma with my Mom, who was recovering from hip-replacement surgery. I didn't want to leave just-germinated seedlings for my family to tend, since they would have plenty of other things to manage while I was away, so I waited.

Happily, not only is Mom doing very well, but yesterday afternoon I filled most of a tray of those "Jiffy" peat-pellets with seeds. Part of the tray is yet-to-be-filled, because the seeds I've ordered aren't here yet, but most of the tomato and pepper seeds for this year are in the tray, as are the eggplant, parsley, marjoram, basil, and a pink Salvia. It feels great to have made a start on the summer garden!

I also planted (in the ground) some seed-potatoes yesterday. There is a short row of Red Pontiac and a short row of White Cobbler. At the end of the potato area I planted some spinach seeds (Tyee), and along one side of the trellis I planted a row of lettuces (Capitan). The seeds were leftovers from previous years, but I found the seed potatoes at Mom's neighborhood grocery store in Choctaw, Oklahoma. The seed potatoes, which were 59 cents a pound, were in a bin in the produce department, along with several varieties of onion sets.

The weather isn't spectacularly warm, but the high temperature yesterday, and forecast again for today, is the mid-50s. That's plenty warm for doing some serious work in the yard. I expect to spend much of this afternoon outside. Hope everyone else is having a beautiful weekend!


  1. We are on parallel gardeningn paths! I am taking 3 days off this week to get my tomatoe, pepper, basil, and eggplant seeds started. Yesterday I prepared a spot to put in potatoes and carrot and radish seed as well as my English peas. I'm about to scroll back and look at your directions for making seeds tapes for the carrot seeds. I have lettuce seed to sprinkle into a few containers on the deck - for easy picking! I picked the last of my collards yesterday - it's been so mild they have overwintered so well and continued to put on new leaves all winter. Now they look like bare stalks! I'm a bit sore today from the hoeing and shoveling but I don't mind at all because I know what the payoff will be! Happy gardening. I really enjoy your posts.

  2. Barbara,

    I'm sore too! That didn't stop me from doing some more work outside this afternoon, but it slowed me down a little. I prepared the space for some green onions and cleared weeds from under the blueberry bushes.

    Our collards also are looking a little "Dr. Seussian," but there are enough good leaves out there that I'm leaving them for a couple more weeks.

    Glad to hear that your garden year is off to a good start! If you have the time, I'd be interested in hearing which varieties you've planted, and whether they are new for this year or varieties that are "tried and true" in your yard.

  3. Wish I could report such pleasureable endeavors, but alas it is even too early for starts, got a week or so, glad to hear your mom is better - and the season begins . . . good post - peace

  4. Ruth - It doesn't surprise me that your gardening season starts later; the big surprise is that it is so soon!

    My Mom's average-date-of-last-frost in spring is a full week or more before mine, even though winters get much colder in Oklahoma than they do here. Somehow, that just seems wrong to me, but her yard does actually have a slightly longer "growing season." However, her spring and fall tend to be shorter, which makes cool weather veggies more of a challenge than they are here.

    Thinking about that difference always underscores for me how important it is to find as much gardening information as possible that is specifically for my area.

    Thanks for the good thoughts about my Mom. Hope your gardening season goes as smoothly as possible!


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