Let’s just begin the review of February by saying that we received only 31% of the possible hours of sunshine for the month. I didn’t even know such records were kept until our local weatherman reported it at month’s end. There were a couple of big snow events and frigid temperatures.
To keep myself busy, I started the indoor project of making the new decorative posts for the Front Garden. It has been fun, and time-consuming, both of which are good things in such a dreary, depressing month of Arctic blasts, snowstorms, wind advisories and international devastation. The garage heater ran almost constantly, with single digit and even below zero temps several nights.
Seeding went according to schedule for the most part. Fifty-four varieties were seeded in February: sweet peas, lupines, lots of cold-hardy annuals in winter seeding jugs, onions, peppers, strawflowers, more stock, calendulas, lunaria, phlox, asarina, fava beans, dahlias, more snapdragons, gomphrena, cherry and grape tomatoes, basils, talinum, sweet alyssum, and a few cold-hardy vegetables. I’m seeding lots of small batches to work out timing for unfamiliar crops, and to just “push the envelope” as much as I can for earliness. Some crops may be lost, but that’s okay if I learn something in the process.
Transplanting is also on schedule. One thousand six hundred and seven babies were put into pots. Of course, a lot of the plants that were seeded into soil blocks or directly into individual cells (like sweet peas) won’t be transplanted but will go directly into the garden beds as soon as the weather allows. However, with the increase in the number of plants this year, I had to purchase two additional lights and found two more lights in the storage area that were put into service, making space for an additional eight flats of seedlings. Not surprisingly, a couple of seed packets jumped into my cart along with the lights…some purple zinnias, just in case there are not enough purple in the mixes and some tall shasta daisy seeds. This year, I’m experimenting with transplanting some plugs into crates, allowing the plants to get established quickly rather than waiting for ground to thaw in the raised beds. We’ll see how that works out, but so far I’m thinking it’s going to give blooms lots earlier for dianthus, snapdragons and ranunculus. They get moved outdoors onto the patio off the basement for an hour or two on any day above freezing that doesn’t have gusty winds. Watering generally took an hour a day this month.
The dahlias were divided and potted, a week earlier than last year so hopefully they will bloom a bit earlier. I wanted to get them finished before the new dahlia tubers begin arriving. And the greenhouse was given a tidy so that as soon as the weather cooperates plants can be moved in.
Fortunately, the Winter Olympics and basketball filled hours of television viewing, simultaneously filled with cutting plastic jugs into plant labels, making plant signs for the garden club sale, and searching for some new recipes to utilize the jars in the pantry. Seldom do I just sit and watch the tube empty handed.
The first snowdrop, that first bloom of the 2022 season opened on February 23. And finally, on February 26 the weatherman forecast an ENTIRE week of temperatures above freezing, even at night! So, I made a new job list, was able to dig some leeks, parsnips and carrots, tidied up some of the raised beds, carried compost pots to the compost bins. Still too wet to do much else outdoors, but I did pick up more walnuts and carried more pots and flats to the basement.
All in all, it was an okay month. There was lots of progress in seeding and transplanting, one post was nearly finished, more amaryllis bloomed indoors and the snowdrop popped up outdoors. Normally, that would be making my blood surge with energy even on cloudy days, but the situation in Ukraine and the continuing Covid worries just seem to sap a lot of that energy and make it difficult to sleep. Praying for peaceful solutions, but not holding my breath…..