30 March 2008

Problems and Beauty at the End of March in the Backyard

It's the only the end of March but gardens, gardening and planting have taken over most of our thoughts and waking hours!

Today, I planted two types of basil seeds - lettuce leaf and Italian pesto. The plants need heat to do their best and this is a good time to get the seeds started inside.

With this week's 70-degree days, many of the trays of seedlings get to spend the day outside.

The perennials have been moved out but they can always come back in if there is a frost predicted.

The Brussels Sprouts and broccoli, snow peas and English peas are doing well in the ground and it is time to move the Arugula seedlings into the ground

I'm having a little trouble with the lettuce this year. The seedlings are about 1.5 inches tall and their color is good but their stems are flimsy.

Does anyone have an idea how to make them stronger? I'm afraid they wouldn't last long in the ground though we put them onto outside tables every day to try to harden them.

Views from the back yard today -

The first year we were here we planted native plums for the birds. Those first trees are colonizing around a shallow pond toward the back of the property.

Two years ago a dear friend, Helen, helped me dig Oklahoma native peach saplings out of a ditch across from her house near Lake Eufaula OK. They are blooming and may produce fruit this year.

So far, the fruit yield from the nectarine tree has been pretty low. But last year's mid-April freeze was part of the reason. The flowers have a heavenly scent.

For old-fashioned back yard beauty, it is hard to beat Bridal Veil. This one came as a house warming gift from my sister Barbara.

This is a small flowering almond that my friend Jan gave me last year. It was a piece of her shrub and it is just getting started. What sweet pink flowers it has.

If you haven't started your seeds yet, get going or scout local nurseries for nice looking plants. Enjoy this spring weather - it is perfect.


Sinfonian said...

I am certainly no expert at this... I failed miserably in fact. My indoor seedlings were just as leggy as your lettuce. The advice I found was to immediatley put them under intense florescent light. They are growing like mad to reach out to light.

If you don't want to go out and invest in an elaborate light system (fairly inexpensive, but elaborate), I'd suggest putting them outside where they can get good sun. Sheltered from the elements of course, but getting them daylight is a must.

Oh how I wish there was frost predicting here in the Seattle area. We're not a farming area and our weather's so unpredictable that it's never even attempted. That just means we backyard gardeners rush out at 11 pm to cover our seedlings with coldframes and hoop covers, or whatever we can find.

Sounds like your garden is really taking off. Way to go!

Molly Day said...

sinfonian - what are you growing in your backyard garden under those cold frames and hoops?
I bought my first cold frames this year from Harbor Freight and Tool - more than I wanted to spend but the best deal I could find.

Tomorrow I'll put the lettuce seedlings back outside - today was tornado warning day with flooding rains.

Can you plant outside there yet?