4/12/22 Update – Planting Begins!!

After a productive day this past weekend, I decided this afternoon to get out into the garden for the first time this season.  It’s almost 70 degrees today and it’s supposed to storm tomorrow, so I wanted to get seeds and plants in to take advantage of the rain. 

Let me start by bringing you up to speed on what’s been done thus far. Sunday I got a few things done with the things I had going on the porch. I potted up this season’s herbs for the bar wall, since everything except the mojito mint did not overwinter. If I had treated them better, they might have overwintered, and I’ll absolutely own my laziness in that regard. No matter! I dashed over to Etsy and visited my very favorite shop for plant starts, Ginger’s Greenhouse. What she calls “a plant start” for $4.00 I call a pretty solid plant and I am very happy with everything I have ever purchased from her. A few weeks ago I bought golden pineapple sage, citronella balm, curled spearmint, chocolate mint, variegated ginger mint, and Melissa mandarina orange balm. I bought a couple more, but due to lack of timely attention to the package in which they arrived, they were not able to be saved. Had I opened and dealt with the box timely, they would have been fine, since Ginger’s Greenhouse does an outstanding job of packaging things. I cleaned the bar wall pots and put some of the the new herbs in them, and set them out for tomorrow’s expected deluge. I have some empty pots, but I plan to visit my very favorite, Schuring Greenhouse, when they open and may put one some trailing petunias in them for color. This may shock you, but I’ll likely buy purple and yellow ones. 🙂

I planted some porch pots on Sunday too, one has bunching onions in the middle and is surrounded with Salad Bowl lettuce. I think that will be super pretty when it gets going. The citronella balm went into a large pot too, since that will be on the table in the backyard to help keep insects at bay this spring and summer. The pineapple sage also went into a larger pot, because it’s pretty and because I like the scent of it very much. I have seeds for two kinds of basil yet to pot, but with the iffy spring we’re having, I’m not going to push my luck. In my buying rush at Ginger’s Greenhouse I also picked up broccoli plants, two of Arcadia and two of Destiny. I potted those in some cardboard boxes preparatory to putting them in the garden beds.

Despite my vow to not start any seeds this year, I did indeed start some seeds. I did six large cells each of Gardener’s Delight, Honey Delight, Sunny Boy, Red Zebra, and Opalka Paste tomatoes. I did six more cells of Blacktail Mountain watermelon too. Those are on the porch steps waiting on tomorrow’s rainstorms.

As I noted at the top, today was a stunner of a Michigan spring day. I arranged to knock off work at 4 and went directly into the garden for the first time this season. I started with snow peas first, using seeds from employee-owned Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I have great germination from their seeds, and they are the only ones I saw with purple podded (Royal Snow) and yellow podded (Golden Sweet) snow peas. I planted a three foot section of garden fencing each of those two and Mammoth Melting Sugar green snow peas. I am sure you’re sensing a theme here, and you are correct, I will have a Mardi Gras mix of snow pea pods to use in stir fries and to just eat out of hand.

Next up came Prizm hybrid kale. I planted a short row next to the existing location of the kale from years back that keeps returning. In my last post I talked about being suckered by the marketing done by Jung Seeds and planted a short row of their cabbage babies mix. I’ll sow another row in a couple weeks so I can have a succession of little cabbages instead of a ton of them at once. After that, I planted the four broccoli plants nice and deep, and then I moved to the blueberry pots. These were underplanted with Black Seeded Simpson heirloom lettuce in the smaller pot and Double Take hybrid spinach in the larger pot. By the time the blueberries get going, I’ll have harvested these two and moved on to something else in there with them. Last year it was tomatoes and that worked out really well.

My thrifted Coleman cooler is host to two rows of Little Gem romaine lettuce. This makes cute little heads of delicious lettuce, enough for a small salad. If I keep up on cutting them I should be able to make those plants last a bit. I have Dynamite butterhead lettuce to plant as well, but I think that will go into one of my larger pots still in the garage. Butterhead is a lettuce I can eat every day and never tire of it. That stuff is expensive to buy at the farmer’s markets, and it’s kind of ridiculous since lettuce is a weed. I’ll keep you posted on germination dates and growth rates and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m trying a new seller on Etsy for flower seeds this spring. If they work out well they’ll get a link, but for now I’ll reserve judgement. I bought a nine-color mix of lupines, 50 seeds worth, and plan to heavily seed the front bed in a couple spots, and possibly make a new bed for them. I love lupines!! I also picked up 50 seeds for milkweed, which I’ll scatter in the back berm for the butterflies.

My most ambitious buy was 5,000 (yes, really) seeds of red creeping thyme. I’ll tray those up in several trays and put them in my cold frame and transplant starts into the front sidewalk berm as I have time to do so this spring and summer. It smells great, forms a tight mat of greenery, and has gorgeous pink flowers. It’s a good pick to contain erosion and choke out weeds, plus it will add some curb appeal for the eye and the nose both.

We will see how the spring progresses before I plant out much more in the way of plants or seeds. It’s been kind of a freaky spring, and I’m pretty sure we have a couple more hard freezes to go yet. Come May, though, I’ll be ready to get more summer-type crops in. I’ll likely post before I do that with progress notes on the things I put in today.

What’s growing on with you?

Author: Amy Crabtree Campbell

figuring it out as I go, since 1967

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