Onions are up and Hot Peppers planted

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Onions are up! Impatiens are up! Snapdragons and lobelia too! It’s nice to see signs of spring, even if it’s only under lights in the house.  Oh, and I have Yugoslavian Buttercrunch coming up too.

I tried something different with my onions, I planted them individually in plug trays since they don’t seem to like being transplanted at a young age.

Yesterday I planted hot peppers, Hot peppers are notoriously slow to germinate and then sometimes they are spotty. Depends on the freshness of the seed and the variety. First I soaked them in weak tea. Pain in the butt to separate them, stuck to my fingers. Here is the list: Arbol, Bhut Jolokia (yes, the infamous ghost), Cayenne, Early Jalapeno, Habanero, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Maules Red Hot, Pasilla, Pepperoncini, Serrano, Tabasco, Anaheim, Shishitso

I don’t like hot peppers although I have been know to use a smidgen of jalapeno in my salsa.

We’ve had snow and cold weather until the pineapple express rolled in last night. Now it’s 45 degrees. Melting all our snow.

Seed Catalogs Starting To Come In

Actually, they’ve been showing up in my mailbox for the last several weeks. I swear I swore off gardening forever when the first frost hit in October. Dragging hoses, pulling weeds, battling bugs and trying to find homes for my abundant garden produce, well just about tuckered me out.

Quite honestly, this was not my best year for gardening. The tomates were a fall crop, (although I did win a grand prize for my Willamette tomatoes at the fair), the peppers were the worst season I’ve had, (and I’ve had some fabulous plants the last couple of years), the zucchini squash plants took over the garden, (I’ve never seen them ramble as much as they did), and the onions didn’t bulb up much. Spider mites attacked my roses and dahlias, slugs ate my tomatoes and my pepper plants, (they had a penchant for the cayenne), and it was a banner year for yellow jackets.

On the upside, my volunteer sunflowers came up in spades, I found some lovely garlic that I had missed last fall, my carnations looked fabulous, and my nasturtiums were lush and aphid free.

Ok, so where was I…right, catalogs. It is almost the first of the new year and still the dead of winter, but perusing all the catalogs that are coming in and seeing all the pretty pictures has stirred something in me. The need to grow things, to “create life”. Not to be blasphemous, but sometimes I think I might know a little of how God must have felt when he created the earth. How pleased He must have been to plant beauty and watch it grow. Despite all of the problems I had last summer, I still am excited about the coming spring, an opportunity to start over again. When you think about it, isn’t that what gardening boils down to?

I was looking through the Irish Eyes Garden Seeds catalog tonight. They are located relatively close to my home in Spokane Valley, WA. Irish Eyes is based out of Ellensburg, WA on the eastern side of the Cascades. I believe in buying local when I can. One of their claims to fame is organic, early season varieties. Yugoslavian Red and Cardinale are two kinds of lettuce that I am going to try, one is a butterhead and the other is a head lettuce. I may even try potatoes again. some of the fingerlings they offer look yummy. Check it out at http://www.irisheyesgardenseeds.com


Tomatoes Are Up!

Sunday, the first of babies started showing up. I’ts amazing, we check several times a day hoping to see a shoot and nothing. The next morning you look and  lo and behold they are there! The odd thing is that the peppers have only shown one volunteer, a giant marconi. It is the only one and they were planted at the same time as the tomatoes on the third of March, I think it was. As for outside, there are some yellow anenomes that are cheerfully blooming in the garden. After a tour of the garden beds I see a whole row of garlic that we missed and an onion that are about 3 inches high. No asparagus yet although I do see the tips of the rhubarb. 

In the greenhouse, I have cabbage “Copenhagen” that I transplanted into cell packs. I’m thinking that I can put them outside since they can take quite a bit of cold. The hollyhocks and geraniums have been transplanted in cell packs and the alyssum and lobelia will be next. One of our cats got into the greenhouse and there are big footprints in some of the single cell starter packs. I am not happy.

Still it is wonderful to go into my little greenhouse and and see the blooms of the geraniums that I carried over last winter. One of my miniature roses is even starting to bloom!

When Gardening Becomes A Chore

Does this ever happen to anyone? Gardening becomes more work than pleasure? For me, it’s usually when I have too much on my plate. My goal this year is to enjoy it more often and ignore the weeds and all the things I need to do. All the visions I have of the garden rooms, immaculately weeded beds, lush plantings, rose covered wisteria, sitting areas, fire pit, etc. Last year, I did manage to go out and sit in a chair, in my garden and just feel the sun on  my face and listen to the birds singing. It was hard to ignore the grass growing in the flower beds and the tomatoes that needed picking, and the flowers that needed deadheading and wait, that patch of lawn needs watering, oh where did I put my watering wand? I think you all know what I mean!Image

Gardening Will Always Be Important To Me

When I was a kid, I don’t remember a special affinity for gardening. All I remember was weeding and more weeding. My mom says that I remember incorrectly and that I did have an interest. Fascinating what we remember and what we don’t. 

Today it is a different story. I love the feel of sun on my face when I’m in the garden whether working or just sitting and enjoying the view. The bright colors, sweetly scented flowers and delicious food that I get from my garden all contribute to my love of gardening. The smell of geraniums and tomato plants. The taste of Sungold cherry tomatoes, warm from the vine. The smell of the earth in spring. Digging home grown carrots in colors of purple, white, yellow and orange in early spring. What’s not to love! I even like weeding. My husband and I used that as our “quiet” time when all the kids were still at home. We still go out and weed together in the evenings. It’s cheaper than therapy!Image