Slice of Life Tuesday: The Prospect of Planting

I’ve got the itch! Each day when it seems a little warmer than the last, I think to myself – soon I can plant! The seeds I started at the end of March have done better than ever before. I’ve had nearly 100% germination rate (my basil and lavender have only partially germinated). But, all the other plants look great and I have a vegetable seedling for each seed I planted.

Last week, I got a box from the Breck’s Bulb Company. Within the box are native plants for our pollinators. Three kinds of milkweed, Culver’s Root, Black Adder Hyssop, and more. I suppose I can get these in the ground sooner than the seedlings which will need hardening off. My husband made me an outdoor enclosure in which to raise monarchs in the best possible simulated environment. Some of the milkweed will go in there and the door will be left open until we have some butterflies visit and lay eggs. Then, the process will start and for the first time in 18 years, not be in my laundry room! It’ll be better for both the monarchs and me!

I also have several packets of seeds that need to be directly sown into the soil once it is warm enough. These are tri-colored carrots and a variety of beets. Did you know that you are not supposed to dig around in the soil before it passes the squeeze test? In this method, you pick up a handful of soil where you desire to plant, squeeze it into a ball and attempt to break the ball. If if falls apart, the soil is dry enough to work. If it stays together or looks visibly moist, the soil is too wet to work. Soil can be damaged by working it in the wrong conditions. Who knew that dirt can be hurt?! (I feel a poem coming out regarding that rhyme!)

Typically, here in the upper mid-west planting any annuals outside (including flowers and vegetables) should wait until the end of May. But, some push this date and just wait until the average last frost date as passed. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, for my area (based on zip code) that date is May 1st! When I planted school gardens with students our planting typically took place in mid-to late May, so that it was done before the school year finished in early June. This also provided time for the students to help with mulching.

Butterfly Garden at Evergreen in the early years of garden club, before 2008. © Carol Labuzzetta.

Lastly, I’ve ordered annuals from a young man who has started his own green house business. This is the fourth year I’ve gotten my annuals from him and they are always beautiful and healthy! One petunia plant was huge by the time I pulled it out in the fall of 2019. This year I have petunias, zinnias, tomatoes, geraniums, and nasturtiums coming from him. Those will be due for pick up the second week of May – on Mother’s Day weekend.

I have a lot of planting to do. This afternoon is supposed to be in the mid-sixties. I think I will go do a soil test to see if I can work the ground where my vegetables will go. It might satisfy part of my “itch.”

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday. Thank you to TwoWritingTeachers.org for creating and hosting this weekly forum for writers and educators to share their passion for writing.

8 Thoughts

  1. It sounds like you’ve got a great start on your spring/summer planting–yay, you! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a petunia that was that large!

    The more I learn about soil, but move I’m amazed by it. It’s absolutely fascinating. I hope the best for your gardens this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tim! I did get out and get half the bed tilled up by hand yesterday. I think I’ll have to ammend the soil there before I do any planting. That step will help delay my enthusiasm and it will turn out better for the plants in the end. Soil is so amazing; you are right about that! I did a soil sort some years ago with garden club students and it was really interesting!

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  2. You make me want to be a planter. I’m almost inspired to greenify my thumb. Until then, I will garden vicariously through your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Good luck! I hope your thumb starts to green up this spring! I love to plant but am not the best at maintaining or weeding, so we will see. It’s also easier to be out there digging, such as I was yesterday afternoon in 64 degree weather as opposed to 85 degree heat and high humidity. We’ll see. Keep your fingers crossed!

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