Saturday, March 8, 2008

Planting the Seed

By my calculations, March 8 (today) is just about exactly 8 weeks before the week when southeastern Iowans should be thinking about planting their gardens. Danger of frost should be over and the soil should be warming nicely. Hard to imagine right now, with mounds and piles and mountains of snow all over the city taller than most adults (and some taller than a building), but that didn't stop me from placing my seed order from the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa,, a non-profit organization of gardeners that save and share heirloom seeds. I also bought a few packets of seeds that SSE didn't have. And today, a sunny but chilly Saturday, I hauled the kids to the garden store and bought trays and dirt.

When I opened the bag of dirt with my kitchen shears, I was overwhelmed by the spring-fever-invoking fresh smell of sun-warmed dirt. The kids agreed--it was almost too much to bear on this snowy winter day! But I got out my spoon, my seed packets, my cling wrap, and planted:

-Ancho gigantea peppers
-Anaheim chili peppers
-Jalapeno peppers
-Mixed-color bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green, and purple)
-Bull nose large bell peppers (heirloom)
-Green tomatillos (haven't tried these before but I heard of someone else in Iowa who grows them so I'm going to give it a try)
-Florida high bush eggplant

I also have, but will wait to direct-sow:

-Russian tarragon
-Lots and lots of cilantro

I wrapped the trays in plastic and we set up a card table in front of our sunniest window. When our pet sitter comes for spring break, I'll have to add seed-watering to her list of chores, but I don't think she'll mind.

Now all we have to do is hurry up and wait for spring...which technically starts in less than two weeks, despite how it looks and feels outside.

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