Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Is It Spring Yet?

Walking to the neighborhood coffee shop on our "snow day".
November and December were so warm that they hardly counted as "winter months" this year, but we finally had a little snow to cap off three weeks of cold weather, and that really is just about enough winter. Are other gardeners as itchy for spring as I am this year?

Right before the coldest nights, we pulled most of the remaining beets and winter radishes and about half the remaining carrots, since the tops that stick up out of the ground can get mushy from exposure to very cold air. I haven't checked under the row-cover yet, but I am hopeful that the last couple of cabbages are not too damaged.

The spaces created by pulling up those crops have me thinking about what to plant next. I know that the "last frost date" is a long way off, but some more cool-season crops can go into the garden sooner.

This weekend, I finally will sit down with my stash of seeds and the pile of 2016 seed catalogs and begin work on my seed-starting and planting schedule for the year. That activity has been put off this long because always, when I start thinking about it, I want to get started right away (even when the schedule I create has a first-seeds-starting date in late February!).

Luckily, even though (in theory) it is too soon to start seeds of most crops, I will be leading a seed-starting workshop in February, and to get ready for that I can start a small number of plants as part of the demonstration portion of that workshop. Those first few plants will be from my own stash of seeds. For the seed-starting workshop, though, Park Seed has Very Kindly Donated some seeds for participants to plant.

I had asked for seeds of the Parks Whopper tomato, since that variety is very hardy in our area, and it is a very tasty tomato that not enough people know about or grow. In addition to the packets of Parks Whopper, they also sent three packets of peppers (California Wonder, bell pepper, organic seed, and Karma hybrid sweet pepper) and a couple of additional tomato varieties (Little Napoli, a great variety for container growing, and Early Girl hybrid that is a UGA recommended variety for our area). It will be great to be able to send participants home with planted-seeds of varieties that are known to do well in our area!

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