Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Yearning

satby seedlings 2014

From commentor Satsby:

Northerners like us are getting serious spring yearnings. I should have waited a couple more weeks, but I needed to start something 2 weeks ago during another polar vortex so I just started tomato and bell pepper seeds. Only the tomatoes came up, and to keep them from damping off I took them out from under the dome yesterday. I’ll just buy bell pepper plants.

Another cold snap is predicted here for a few more days. These will be a good size by the time I transplant them 8 weeks from now!

We’re getting the worst of a New England spring here, unremitting drizzle on the dank ugly remnants of last fall’s leaves and winter’s detritus. Even the daffodils and the Siberian irises haven’t budded, and some years they bloom in mid-February…

On a more positive note, I’ve got another long essay from MaryG & Higgs Bosuns Mate, so for today’s special there will be a West Coast Sunday Morning Garden Chat later this EDT afternoon!

What’s going on in your gardens this week?

44 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    I tilled the 1,860 sq ft of vegetable garden last Fri and Sat. First time it had been dried out enough from almost constant snow cover and rain since last November.

    Sun and Mon are supposed to be warm, Mon maybe even to upper sixties. I hope to get seedlings for greens, lettuces, and some cabbages, and get them in the ground Mon afternoon. I am hoping we are past the hard freezes below 20, but we went there just a few days ago here in south central Indiana, so who knows?

    I also plan to plant sugar snap peas and seed potatoes, it is time to get them in the ground.

    Last year I got 55 lbs of potatoes out of three short rows, three varieties, and we enjoyed them all Fall. I made a soup with the final shriveling remnants in early Dec, and it was still quite good.

  3. 3
    satby says:

    Actually, after I sent this 2 little peppers started to peek out, one orange bell and one purple bell. And since I didn’t have them under the dome I started a flat of flower seeds, geraniums and petunias. So I now have 26 itsy little petunias and only 5 out of 10 geraniums, but enough for my hanging baskets. It’s been such a bad winter none of the seed potatoes I ordered have been delivered yet.

  4. 4
    satby says:

    @raven: that looks so beautiful raven!

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  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: I started my plants app a month ago. The peppers ran behind everything else. The first Poblano just showed up 2-3 days ago. I suspect the temp of the room has something to do with it. Kept it in the 60’s for the tomatoes.

  7. 7
    skwerlhugger says:

    “dank ugly remnants of last fall’s leaves and winter’s detritus”
    That’s where everything lives! A manicured yard is an ecological dead zone.

  8. 8
    Ramalama says:

    Just another bitchin’ from me about there being about 4 paws* of new snow. Which makes about 83 paws total remaining on the ground.

    *Converting imperial measurements to metric = sled dog measurements.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:


    Groundhog heaven.

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: And they love it when the kudzu comes out!

  11. 11
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    Nothing coming up here in Detroit as far as I can see. It’s been pretty cold and plants are behind schedule. In Cleveland my relatives got 2 inches of snow Saturday, confirming the wisdom of their move to NC next month.

    I spent the week in Germany and had a half day free on Friday. It was perfect weather and the mild winter has put their growing season ahead of schedule. Wandered around downtown Schramberg in the Schwartzwald, photographing the nicely turned out flower beds.

    Yesterday I passed through Amsterdam Schiphol airport where a number of stores were selling flowers and bulbs.

  12. 12
    satby says:

    @raven: And she deserves to be thanked;you too for the gorgeous pics, because I can only daydream right now. My daffodils and hyacinths are just barely peeking above ground, way late for them.

  13. 13
    PurpleGirl says:

    Looks to be a gray day in NYC. We have morning fog.

    Looking forward to the post from Mary and HBM.

  14. 14
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think you’re right, the peppers that did sprout did so after I put the grow light very low over the flat and the combo of heat from the mat beneath and lamp above raised the ambient temperature enough. I keep my house at about 64 degrees in the winter and wear fleece, warm enough for me but not seeding delicate plants even with the heat mat I guess.
    I heard that keeping the light very close to the seeding tray keeps the plants from stretching to the light, and so far that and carefully blowing on them have the seedlings growing stronger and not spindly.

  15. 15
    satby says:

    Help! My last comment is “awaiting moderation”??

  16. 16
    Cervantes says:

    We’re getting the worst of a New England spring here, unremitting drizzle on the dank ugly remnants of last fall’s leaves and winter’s detritus.

    Same New England spring — same weather, albeit more than a drizzle locally — but I love it.

    I’ve always found the sound of rain comforting. And in the spring, it washes away big piles of ice and snow that are sometimes unrecognizable as such because of the dirt.

    And kids love the puddles!

    Hope you soon get weather that’s more to your liking. Do you have (or need) help with the remnants and detritus? (I’m assuming not.)

  17. 17
    palindrome says:

    Planting potatoes and brussels sprouts. Spinach and cilantro that I seeded last fall are up and making me smile. Will be in New England in two weeks and hoping for some tourist weather.

  18. 18
    Currants says:

    @satby: I’m about to start my nightshades, and seem to recall that peppers do take longer to germinate (and/or need warmer soil temps?).

  19. 19
    Schlemizel says:

    The county is tearing up our flower beds this year to change the road in front of the house. I will be moving as much as I can before they get here but it will be a disaster no matter what. Part of the disaster will be losing 2 beautiful cherry trees, along with whatever I clumsily kill in trying to save from the dozer. But it also means no new plantings this year.

    But out here on the frozen tundra we still have snow on the ground so all of that is still in the future.

  20. 20
    Currants says:

    @palindrome: well, if it’s not tourist weather when you arrive, wait a few minutes. (Or at leat that’s what people say around here.)

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    JMS says:

    Don’t give up on the peppers. I’ve found that they take forever to germinate. Just when I think they are duds and ready to chuck them, a little green shoot arrives.

  22. 22
    eric nny says:

    I’m refusing to get out of bed until it stops snowing. My garden is still under at least a foot and a half of snow. I’m not normally a hateful person, but because of that picture, I’m having strong negative feelings towards Raven…..:(

  23. 23
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Schlemizel: Sorry to hear you are losing cherry trees. On my development’s campus we have a bunch of — one or two dozen — cherry trees and I love them.

  24. 24
    Punchy says:

    We just ripped out a rose bush (concerns about the mixing of kids and a half-million thorns and such). Holy cheese sauce are those things hard to take out. Roots everywhere. They’re the Don Gotti of suburban foliage. Musta sweated out 3 lbs hacking away at it….

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    currants says:

    Satby: what’s your planting medium? I can’t really make it out from the photo, but it looks kind of insanely uniform (unlike the mess mine usually are).

  26. 26
    JPL says:

    Today I’m going to plant some kale and arugula. I should be able to get a few meals from the greens before the heat of the summer takes over.

    btw, Shanesha Taylor fund now has $53,700. Although it sounds like a large amount, legal fees and taxes will take a chunk of that. It would be nice to think that she has enough for several months of rent and day care.

  27. 27
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @skwerlhugger: My yard is rife with life then.

    Drove into STL and picked up 3 yards of compost yesterday. Will begin spreading it today. Originally thought that 3-4 yards would be all I need this year, “HA!”, but will need another load in the next wk or 2. Spent the rest of the day reworking the herb garden next to the house (I have 2 herb gardens) as it had become a mess. It has app 2′ of elevation change over it’s 20′ of length and was hilled up against the concrete foundation app 18″. At it’s widest it is 4′ deep… Never mind, suffice to say, I hate boxes and it curves away than back into the house before curving away again. I picked up some steel garden edging and I am terracing the entirety of it. I had had it bordered with stone from the place but that was Potosi dolomite, a type of limestone that looks a lot like coral with plenty of holes and pockets for weeds to get a roothold and then “pollute” the garden. I will embark on an expedition to the Nat Forest in southern Washington Co. where there is a plenitude of sandstone free for the harvesting. It should be pretty cool when I am done, a nice mix of herbs and flowers in a more pleasing placement.

    Also got my potatoes and onions in last Sunday. When I got home Monday eve, I found that some little critter (squirrel? chipmunk?) had come through and sampled about a fifth of my onion greens nipping them off at the soil line and then not eating anymore. He has been back several times to dig around in that bed but has decided that onions do not suit his palate, so I guess I’ll let him live.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @eric nny: There has to be some reward for living in GA. The GA right to life is so extreme, that the organization got kicked out of the national right to life to organization.

  29. 29
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JPL: Would that be the “Georgia Right to Life for Collections of Human Cells but the Rest of You MothaFvcka’s Better Duck” organization?

  30. 30
    WereBear says:

    I have a striped mini rose I rescued from the grocery store over the holidays. I have enough lights for it to thrive but not bloom. Looking forward to planting it out when spring comes.

    It’s snowing today.

  31. 31
    Betty Cracker says:

    Since we’re in a subtropical zone, we got a huge head-start on the vegetable garden. The mister has beans, bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, hot peppers, eggplant, cabbage, lettuce, various herbs and probably other things I’m forgetting flourishing in his raised container garden. He’s been eyeing two cucumbers all week that are just about big enough to be eaten.

  32. 32
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I just found this via the Guardian: The Mirror of Race.

    From the Home page:

    We invite you to explore The Mir­ror of Race Project, a place for reflec­tion on the mean­ing of race in Amer­ica — its past, as well as its present and future.
    Here you will find both a main exhi­bi­tion of early Amer­i­can pho­tographs as well as exhi­bi­tions on spe­cific top­ics.
    You will also find crit­i­cal com­men­tary in var­i­ous forms, such as essays and film.
    Come inside and take the oppor­tu­nity to think about how you see oth­ers — and yourself.

    From the Interpretive Commentary page on the first picture in the gallery:

    But can we be so sure of what we see? Certainly, many if not most Americans looking at this image would “see” the man on the left “as” black, the one on the right “as” white. But in the history of race in America, seeing isn’t everything. The notorious one-drop rule, which came fully into force only by the mid-19th century, decreed that even a single African ancestor would make a person “negro,” no matter how white he or she looked. By the one-drop rule, then, the man on the right could be of mixed-race descent and therefore look white but be black — at least according to the racialist logic.
    Is he white or black, then? We just don’t know. But one goal of the Mirror of Race project is to get us — we as viewers — to look into these images as mirrors that reflect on ourselves and on the assumptions that we bring to our seeing. The fact that we do not know more about these two people than what we see forces us to confront our own need to locate people on a racial map. I am asserting that our lack of knowledge about an image such as this can be a positive thing. Imagine being told the racial identity of these two men, as a matter of historical fact: this would allow us to place them and the image into the convenient categories we already are familiar with. But not knowing displaces us in a way that makes possible an examination of what it is we want to know. Just as we do not know about these two men of the past, we also do not know about the strangers we meet in our daily lives today. The difference is that, while our everyday presumptions and assumptions generally remain unexamined, the photograph has the power to arrest us and give us pause to reflect on what we desire to know, what that desire means, and whether that desire it is even valid.

    Powerful stuff. One can lose many hours there. I will.

  33. 33
    satby says:

    @currants: I did something new this year and bought this

    I’ve used other seed-starter kits, but damned if this one wasn’t the best ever, almost 100% germination (and the peppers look like they’ll come along. I was giving seed-starting one last try, usually I get spindly little sprouts and then 1/2 of them damp off; and then I go buy plants. This year looks like I’ll actually plant what I started.

  34. 34
    satby says:

    Is my comment @ 14 out of moderation? It still shows as waiting for me.

  35. 35
    thruppence says:

    We’ve got a welcome light drizzle now, and some of the tulip bulbs have leapt up bright red and cheery, but generally our shaded valley grows redwoods, mushrooms, moss, banana slugs, and unstoppable viciously thorned blackberry vines that yield about one cup of blackberries per year.
    We may be planting more garden gnomes than anything else.

  36. 36
    jnfr says:

    A rabbit has taken up regular visits to my garden. It gambols among my raised beds kicking up its feetses and having a lovely time.

    So on our trip to Lowes this week, we got rebar and a soldering iron and I’m going to use some old chicken wire to encase my raised beds in (hopefully) rabbit-proof cages.

  37. 37
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    One disappointment from last year was getting a Knock it Off letter from the city inspector for the 1 meter patch of milkweed I was tolerating in a corner of the yard. To the inspector it’s a weed but to the bees and butterflies it’s nutrition. And it was free, smelled wonderful and required zero care.
    This year we’re investigating planting more insect-friendly flowers to keep attracting them in the absence of the milkweed.

  38. 38
    WereBear says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: That drives me crazy!

    I had a lawn in suburban Long Island, where pesticide soaked patches of unnatural green are considered a sacred right.

    I went all organic, 80 rose bushes, patches of butterfly and bee plants, lots of companion herbs, and whatever grew in the backyard for the dogs got hacked down with one of those weedwhackers on wheels every month or so to allow the dogs to run around. (We couldn’t use a lawnmover, this was mutant stuff and cracked the block on a Toro.)

    We got a lot of grumbling and whining from the neighbors at first. But when they started getting bouquets they shut up.

  39. 39
    MomSense says:

    Snow and dog poop still cover the garden. And is there a name for the combination of sand, salt, dirt, snow and ice that is mounded up on the side of the road? That stuff still covers the sidewalks and makes it tough to walk anywhere since it doesn’t melt. It’s also lining the edges of all the yards and driveways.

  40. 40
    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: Spring will come eventually. I promise. Hang in there.

  41. 41
    gelfling545 says:

    Even though there’s about 5 inches of snow on the ground this am, I feel I have made some progress for my garden. A guy at my Tai Chi class has a kid who is looking for yard work. Woot! It’s been getting harder & harder as my own kids have gardens of their own to tend and my grandkid who is old enough to be of real help is involved with a NFP urban farm project that trucks its produce into the food deserts around the city for off-the-truck sale at cost. She’s been starting kale & basil seeds lately, all in a good cause, but none for me!

  42. 42
    MomSense says:


    We have certainly earned Spring this year.

  43. 43
    satby says:

    Forgot to mention but I got my milkweed seeds!!

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    Talentless Hack says:

    @HeartlandLiberal: In Upstate NY, we don’t expect to see dry enough dirt to till until May.

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