Pepper sprouts!

Pepper sprouts!

Spring is trying to take hold but since it is too early by about a month, it is having a hard time of it. In the last week we have had warm sunshine, cold gusting wind, and snow. Today is warm and windy and tomorrow we are expecting thunderstorms! But Tuesday there is snow in the forecast. The daffodils against the south side of my next door neighbor’s house are poking up. My maple tree started blooming but has since decided to call a halt to the proceedings so instead of the usual profusion of flowers, they are lightly scattered here and there. When I leave in the morning for work I am never sure how I should dress. Everyone and everything is confused!

The beautiful day today had me all in a panic. I should be out in the garden cutting back last year’s perennials and grasses, clearing away the mulch, digging a couple new beds in the front yard, getting the veg beds ready to plant. But it is only the beginning of March, much too early in spite of the warm day. So I contented myself with more seed starting.

Today I planted into their starter pots, brandywine, ponderosa, Cherokee purple, and pear tomatoes. In addition we are trying eggplant this year. Not the big purple kind, we have tried those before and the one fruit we got was eaten by a squirrel! This year we are trying a smaller eggplant called Turkish Orange. It is an heirloom variety with a small three-inch fruit and a shorter grow time than the giant purple varieties. Plus, hopefully because it is orange, the squirrels won’t recognize it as something to eat. Maybe?

And even though I have never had any luck at all with cabbage, I am trying one more time because I still have seeds. So we’ll see what happens with the red cabbage this year. And I planted broccoli too. I have never had luck with it either and last year Bookman simply poured out an old seed packet in a corner of the garden before putting the paper into the recycle bin. Wouldn’t you know it, a bunch of them sprouted! Because it was not the right place to grow and they didn’t get going until late, the plants only grew about five-inches tall before frost killed them. I love to have broccoli sprouts on sandwiches and in salads and I just started a new batch of sprouts yesterday and I figured, what the heck? I took a couple of the seeds from my sprout jar and planted them. We’ll see what happens. Watch it end up being some kind of giant broccoli variety that will take over half the garden.

The pepper seeds weren’t doing anything, at least it appeared they weren’t, but one morning I got up and when I bent over to spritz them there were sprouts! Now there are quite a few sprouts. So I moved them off the heating mat and from under the dome to under a grow light. The new seeds for sprouting have now taken their place on the heat mat and under the dome. How exciting!

Next week there will more seeds to start and then the indoor seed starting will be done and I will move to caring for all the seedlings until I get to start planting cool weather seeds outdoors at the end of April. With luck, the month or so in between will see me outside getting everything ready.

Sunchokes in flower

Sunchokes in flower

The Dashwoods had no adventures this week I am glad to say. They have been content scratching around in their own garden instead of flying over the fence to investigate the neighbor’s flowerbed. I think what has kept them in their own garden is the discovery that there is lots of buried sunchoke treasure out there. They had previously thought the only ones to find were overgrown into the garden path until a fortuitous scratch on the other side of the bed edging turned up a tasty treat. Now they have pretty much decimated the sunchoke bed. I think I am going to have to buy a new plant come spring and start the bed all over again because I can’t count on there being any left at this point.

I didn’t think they would do what they did. I thought they would just dig around the edges since I hadn’t cut the tall stalks down. But nope, they trampled right in there and took care of business. It took three years to get a patch that big so I could dig some up for myself to eat. Now it is back to the drawing board. Once the new one gets planted, there will be a fence put up around it to keep it safe from the Dashwoods! At least the area will be well fertilized for the new plants, that’s something I guess. And it is also a warning that once the various veg beds get planted, the Dashwoods will be banished to the chicken garden. They are not going to like it one bit, but if I want any vegetables, I have no choice. They have two more months to live it up before the gate gets closed.