Way back in February, we wrote May 16th on our whiteboard.
More than because it is my darling sister’s birthday, though that absolutely takes precedence!
We wrote May 16th on our whiteboard because that is the day we were to finally plant outside! Two weeks after last year’s last frost date. Enough time for the world to warm up and accept our little seedling babies, so they can take root and start giving us some fresh, sun-warmed produce.
And, boy, we’ve learned a lot in that time.
Dozens of seeds were planted.
The broccoli seedlings grew, and grew so fast they died and we had to start again. Those from the second batch that made it outside, well, out of 6 patches in our garden, one seems to have taken root. Two, maybe. And the other three, have mysteriously vanished…
This weekend, the peppers and tomatoes are joining them outside.
And they have had their own challenges…
We began with six healthy, strong tomato plants. Every single one of them was doing well. Then one was dropped, a few were beheaded (mysteriously), and after accidently planting one tomato seed when I meant to plant a pepper seed, we seem to have – maybe – three tomatoes to go outside. Though, sadly, none of the three were our strongest contenders (coughbeheadingscough).
The pepper plants, by far, have been the most successful.
Pure luck. That’s all.
They were not dropped. They maintained their heads. They seem big and strong. (Well, for now anyway, we have another full day before they are planted).
Lesson learned? Well, next year, we might buy the plants already grown. Seedlings were not meant for our unpredictable home. Apparently.
(But, they have been pretty darn cute).
The snap peas also seem to be doing very well. The ones we let grow ‘wild’ around the raised bed became someone’s snack last night (do those grow back?), but the ones we have protected are truly beautiful.
Big, bright green leaves, and already throwing up their lassos to climb towards the hot (warm?) sunny, sun.
As they grow through the netting, I have cut little holes to let them through. This weekend, we will give them lines to crawl up, and more netting to protect them from all our Troy wildlife… you know, the dozens of squirrels, one fat groundhog, hundreds of birds, and some pretty useless (but cute) feral cats.
The carrots – I have no clue.
There are little green leaves, but danity things. Nothing to even take a picture of! It just looks like a window planter full of dirt. Truly. According to my calendar, I was supposed to plant more carrot seeds this week, but I feel funny doing it, not even knowing if the first batch of carrots are even there. Or the second.
What’s even crazier than our luck with the vegetables, is our luck with the sunflowers. (Actually, this sounds sarcastic, but it’s not! We are having a shockingly decent response from our sunflower seeds).
Let me tell you, those things grow in a minute! They burst out of their little sunflower shells and sprout towards the stars in earnest! (I mean, the reality is that they are growing towards a couple of plastic bins holding toiletries on the shelf above them), but holy cow, those little, baby flowers just take off!
I’m hoping that sunflowers are a good idea for our garden bed and along our front fence, and if it is, then I will certainly have to start planting these seedlings closer to the summer. I am not sure what instructions I read, but if I had planted them in their little biodegradable pots last weekend, they would be ready to face the outdoors tomorrow. I, for sure, planted them all several weeks too early!
(PS: I know about the risk of replanting sunflowers and their sensitive baby roots, but I had to give them a head start because of the fabric on our garden bed that is suffocating all the weeds. They needed to have their little leaves sprouted in order to reach above that clothe barrier to make it – I think… also, we’re learning).
So, we did it!
We made it to May 16th.
(I’ll let you know what happens).