It's February. Let's face it, unless you're in a southern state -- which we patently are not -- then no one in their right mind can begin gardening this early in the season. But that doesn't keep the urge from striking
Gardening companies are clever at tapping into that urge. It's no accident catalogs start arriving in mailboxes in January, when the weather is bleakest. All it takes is a brief thumb-through of the beautifully-illustrated perfect fruits and vegetables, and wham. It hits. The urge.
Coincidentally our weather has been mild this week, with temps up in the unheard-of 50s. Except for berms and piles, the snow is mostly gone.
Don and I walked through the dead brown garden a couple days ago, planning spring's activities.
We could have a cold snap anytime, so I'm not going to risk planting anything outdoors, of course...but nothing keeps me from planting inside. I decided to scratch my gardening itch by getting some seedlings started early. Specifically I wanted to get cayenne peppers and Brussels sprouts planted.
We all love Brussels sprouts in our house, but I learned (too late) they need a very long growing season. I decided to start them indoors to see if I could get them successfully started early enough to enjoy the yummy results next summer.
A year and a half ago, I planted Brussels sprouts in the garden and they never matured. However they overwintered well...
...and (since they're biennials) they produced enormous numbers of seeds. I collected a goodly number. Incidentally, no fooling, these plants are descendants of the seeds I originally ordered from Victory Seeds several years ago.
So this afternoon I took some of the seeds...
...and rubbed them out of their pods.
I planted 36 seeds in pots large enough (I hope) to handle indoor growth for the next couple of months.
Next up, cayennes. These are last summer's ripe peppers. Again, they're the product of seed saving.
Last year I planted two flats (100 plants) and by the time I harvested the plants, only 15 or so had survived my clumsy gardening attempts. But those 15 plants yielded wonderful peppers. This time I again planted two flats' worth (100 seeds) and we'll see if I can improve my odds.
Cayennes take a long time to grow to maturity, especially by northern Idaho standards, so I like getting an early start.
Also, as an experiment, I planted ginger from a root I bought at the grocery store a few months ago, which has been sitting on the little shelf above the kitchen sink, waiting for my next broccoli-beef dish.
Instead, I noticed it was actually budding.
So, what the heck, I put it in a pot and we'll see what happens. My mother (who has a splendidly green thumb) has grown ginger many times as a house plant, so maybe this will work.
I thought about getting some red bell peppers started, but reined myself in. It's a little too soon for them.
So for the time being, my gardening itch is scratched. Let's see what grows.