Books and workshops are fine for advice and inspiration, but on a more practical level, my most precious resource is my local gardening store, Northwest Seed and Pet. I’m lucky to have a store near me with an eighty-year history. They carry a variety of tools, equipment, fertilizers, seeds, plants, pets, supplies for pets… even chicks and ducklings. When I’m there I often see young families checking out the reptiles and fish. Northwest Seed is the closest thing we have to a zoo around here.
The big garden centers may have attractive prices, I couldn’t make it without Northwest Seed and Pet. The staff are experienced, they have great insight into garden problems, and the plants are selected for our specific area. If you haven’t sought out an independent garden shop yet, you really should. There’s just no substitute.
Weeding and pruning go on. I’ve cleared winter debris and cat by-products from the southern end of my garden, in preparation for the first plantings. Good thing, too. The weather has reverted to a more usual 50 degrees and showery, with nights below 40.
The big excitement was that a wind came through and blew my small greenhouse over. I had to rush out and save my little plants. Fortunately, after a night in the warm indoors, they all seem to have made it through.
At my favorite garden shop, mentioned above, I got seeds for an onion blend — white, yellow and red — plus an heirloom tomato called Black Cherry. That is currently germinating, along with Brandywine tomatoes, two kinds of basil, parsley, coleus and foxglove. I also purchased a gallon-size coral bells called Black Knight, with beautiful dark leaves. That’s currently hardening off in the (securely staked) greenhouse.
Outside, I put in seed for cold weather crops: the onions, some carrots, radishes, spinach, beets and snap peas. It is early, but my vegetable patch is in a sheltered area. With the rain to soften them up, I know they’ll pop up when the conditions are right.
The “zombie lettuce” experiment is over. Although the heads were sprouting, the leaves had an unfortunately sharp flavor, as if they were about to go to seed. Maybe, because the heads had been cut, that’s what the plant was trying to do. So although “zombie lettuce” can be an interesting demonstration of propagation techniques, it appears I won’t be able to stretch my produce dollars this way. Ah, well.
May warmer days come to us, sooner rather than late!