The BIG DAY finally arrived! That day which I’ve anticipated all winter long, planned for, wished for, and nervously waited for finally came. There were daffodils blooming in the Front Garden this morning, as I and my tea cup took our morning walkabout! I shouted with joy, spilling my tea in the process as I stooped to view their cheery flowers more closely. What a lovely, lovely sight. And what a beautiful day it was! Temperatures were in the upper 60’s all day, with lovely sunshine and barely a breeze. The soil was perfect for planting, so I hurried to the potager, “Direct Seeding” box in hand, along with the notebook containing the planting maps that have been drawn and redrawn over the winter.
First up were the shallots. There were enough good ones left to plant 9 rows, so that’s 54 linear feet of deliciousness. I’ve learned that planting the single bulbs, even if they are small generally results in more and larger shallots than planting the doubles and triples. So in they went, with only a couple dozen doubles and triples remaining to use in the kitchen. Hopefully this year’s crop will be better than last year’s, some of which rotted in the excessive rains. Then it was on to the peas. Out came the pea fencing from the Lady Cottage.
“Green Arrow” peas are my absolute favorite for productivity and flavor. The succession planting plan for peas also includes “Penelope” and “Spring”, both new ones to the potager and to me, but they will go in later. Last year’s late freeze has made me a bit more cautious. I don’t want these turning to mush. Also planted were 3 rows of yellow onion sets. Normally I prefer to grow onions from seed, but the first seeding in the basement was pitiful. My fault as I used some old seed. There are other onion seeds coming on later for storage purposes, but this year it’s sets that will provide some early onions for the table. Radishes, pak choi and “China King” Chinese cabbage seeds were also sown. And that was it for the potager’s first crops, but it sure felt good to get them in the ground.
I’ve mentioned before that the Cutting Garden is going to get lots more attention this year, and to that end I’ve planted a little experiment. New to me is “Blue Thimble” flower. The packet says to sprinkled it on prepared soil and rake them in just as early as the ground can be worked. Not knowing what the seedlings will look like, and wanting to hurry them along, I decided to seed small circles, and then cover them with milk jugs that have had their bottoms removed. It’s a little variation on the traditional “winter seeding” technique that I’m using for several perennials. If nothing else, at least I will know where they are, and they won’t wash downhill if it rains. While I was in the Cutting Garden, I was delighted to see emerging larkspur babies.
I’ve grown larkspur for decades, so I recognize these seedlings easily. Back in the 70’s they were a staple for our wreath-making business since they dry so well. I sprinkled these seeds on the snow back in late February and now here they are! So exciting.
I did a little clean-up in the Deck Garden, moved more plants to the greenhouse, and transplanted 288 seedlings into 4-packs. It was the best day I’ve had in months, and hopefully just the very beginning of a splendid growing season! The fun has just begun!