This Week in the ’21 Garden

Gardening has begun for me. Well, it started, like, a month ago when I began work on my garden beds, but for most gardeners seed starting is the beginning of gardening. We’ll just stick with that. This week is 8 weeks before the last frost. And the day of the second ice storm in a week. Freezing rain aside, this is the average time to be starting things like peppers and tomatoes; all those hot weather things that need some time to get started before we get them out in the ground. 6 weeks before the last frost is when the major bulk of my seeds need starting. This year, I will have success with my seeds.

In the last few years I’ve had minimal success with only the hardiest seeds. My issue is often not enough light and not enough watering – or over watering. I don’t really understand how those two happen synonymously. Why can’t I get it right? Anyway. This year. This is my year. I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot, but I am not letting it go to waste. The last time I started seeds in a south-facing window sill things went alright, but I still planted out mostly weak and leggy seedlings and starts. To combat the light issue I have purchased some shop lights that are supposed to do the trick. (3400 lumens, daylight color) As for the water, it’s just a prayer. I have invested a lot more in these seedlings than previous years though so I am much more motivated to keep them happy.

This year’s gardens are going to be a bit more focused on perennials and flowers rather than just fruits and vegetables. Though my vegetable crop is a major part of the garden it isn’t what makes me happiest. If I am completely honest with myself I use the crops as a justification for flower gardening. Flowers are where it’s at for me. The colors, the scents, the visual interest they create for a first time guest pulling up to my home. When someone pulls up the drive to my house in the middle of summer, I want the flowerbeds to say the people who live here make an effort for beauty.

The seeds I started this week were Golden Nugget Tomatoes, Glaskins Rhubarb, Impatiens, and Echinacea. I have tried to start Echinacea every way except the one way they are supposed to be started. I have never stratified them. I didn’t know they were supposed to be stratified until last year – after I’d already started all the seeds I had available to me. This year, however, I know better. My seeds are sitting in their seed tray taking up precious freezer space right this moment. In another month I’ll take them out, hope, pray, and maybe finally have this lovely and beneficial perennial in all my gardens.

I realize it’s hard to stick around when all the talk is about the things that are coming, rather than the things that are already here. I promise though, if you hang in there with me, you’ll get to see the beautiful reward this summer. Sunflowers, zinnia’s, moss rose, moonflower, and all sorts of lovely annuals as well as my vegetable garden. I am learning how to take better photos with my real camera, rather than my phone, so I can capture all the beauty that will be rolling in this summer. You guys, it’s going to be awesome.

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