HELEN LANG: Rushing the planting season

It is so chilly outside that I feel it is more like February than half way through March.

It is so chilly outside that I feel it is more like February than half way through March.

I really don’t feel much like getting out in the vegetable patch and subjecting those poor seeds to this unkind weather. Well, its OK for peas — they have a good layer of soil to keep them relatively warm. But although my planting chart suggests waiting until April to plant both lettuce and spinach, I can’t wait that long for my first fresh salad, so the lettuce seed and the spinach are going in earlier than that. We’ll have to buy the cucumber, celery and tomato, but that’s life and it won’t be long now before we’ll be able to harvest those from the garden, as well.

Actually it will be quite a while. I’m just dreaming. Gardeners have the habit of trying to ‘’rush the season.” It keeps them awake at night planning what should go behind the garage (the mariju … er … the  marigolds).

In my carton of potatoes a lot of  them are wearing strong, healthy sprouts so I’m going to cut them up and plant a few sprouted pieces in big pots on the balcony, just to see what will happen. There are few things nicer to eat than new potatoes swimming in a small puddle of butter. A sprinkle of salt makes them even more appealing!

This spring I want to buy and plant some dark purple petunias, the ones with that wonderful perfume. Maybe I’ll add a couple of pink ones for contrast but the purple ones seem to be the most highly scented and it is a lovely perfume.

I’ll have to buy them. I’ve waited too long to plant the seeds and for them to grow big  enough, soon enough, to be ready to go out on  the balcony this spring.

It’s about time to visit a nursery and buy your bedding plants for the flower garden. If you wait much longer you are apt to find all the best plants have been sold and you are left with the “waifs and strays.

I know some of you aren’t ready (I’m really not, either) but we better get a move on, or end up with a few expensive geraniums and a lovely display of chick-weed. And for a lot of enthusiastic gardeners, that just won’t do.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

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