Hope Springs in a Garden

It was 62° today and I only had to wear two layers! Things are looking up. I saw the first nubbins of daffs coming through the mulch and the first robin bachelors have arrived to scope out the neighborhood and make some test nests for the ladies when they arrive in a few weeks. Maybe it won’t be endless winter. Maybe Spring WILL arrive.

And maybe it’s okay to be looking at seed catalogs and planning my garden. Speaking of seed catalogs, let’s take a look at what the Smithsonian now has available. What a treasure trove of beauty for someone who loves vintage labels and marketing art. Here’s a favorite. Look how delicious those vegetables look.

Smithsonian Collection Seed Catalogs

I attended a talk last Sunday by the author of Epic Tomatoes, Craig, LeHoullier, and already caught the Spring gardening bug. He has a production mindset when it comes to seeds and planting from his years as a heirloom tomato seed tester. There was a lot to be learned that was contrary to most of what I’ve learned about seed setting and growing plants for transplanting. I’m excited to try them.

1-Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers seem to do very well in black plastic containers, 5-10 gallon size. The extra heat absorbed from the sun seems to give them a good head start. They may need to be watered twice daily. I think this will work for me since my soil temps last Spring were so cold so long.

2-Cast seed thickly on the soil and let the seeds germinate tight together. Once up they are actually easy to shake apart then insert one at a time into their own pot. I confess I was skeptical but watched him demo the technique and describe it as tough love.

3-Indeterminate tomatoes like to climb and want to get quite tall. This I know so, duh, I need to put them on a taller trellis system or taller support. Stupid tomato cages are stupid.

Epic Tomatoes by Craig LeHoullier speaks at Blandy

Craig LeHoullier, author of Epic Tomatoes speaks Mar 8 in the Blandy Experimental Farm Library.

So at last I have some hope but realistically it’s only the middle of March and no doubt the March Lion may not be done roaring. How’s your hope?


About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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