April 2, 2010

Little Bits

The vegetable garden, well really both the vegetable and flower gardens, are slowly making progress. Over the past two days I've planted about 40 day lilies. Some that I dug up off of a hill behind our house that, if last summer is any example, will be covered with vines soon, choking out the flowers. Some were given to me by a neighbor who had dug them out last fall and stored them over the winter. The peonies are starting to leaf out (when the dog leaves them alone for a few days) and I have a flat of nasturtium seedlings ready to go out in the garden tomorrow before we leave on our vacation.

But as much as I'm looking forward to having flowers out the ying yong this summer, I'm a vegetable girl and so seeing tiny little carrot seedlings gives me a thrill that no amount of Camellia or tulip buds can. What can I say, I must have been a farmer in a past life.

Well, maybe not because I'm still struggling with when to plant what here in Virginia. I've spent most of my adult life (and a good chunk of my childhood) in rainy, temperate places and so when it comes to starting seeds and setting out young plants I am a little at a loss. This winter I read a Virginia vegetable gardening primer cover to cover and dutifully transcribed the dates to start sends indoors and out for each of the plants I wanted in the garden this year. And then we had the snowstorm and I thought everything would shift a little and worried my seedlings would be ready too early. But alas, it's pretty much full on early summer here (mid to high 80's every day) despite the long and late winter storms and my eeny little plants seem behind.

A few weeks ago we set out the broccoli seedlings and seeded the carrots, beets, parsnips and some early lettuce. The broccoli is plodding along and the shallot bulbs and lettuce starts given by a friend are providing some green in the otherwise barren landscape of the vegetable patch. The lettuce seedlings came up not long after but the root vegetable had made no appearance what so ever. I started to wonder if the birds had been snacking away on our seeds when I caught Evelyn hopping down the middle of one of the beds (sigh, this is gardening with a three year old I suppose) and discovered that she had trod on some tiny little beet plants. Crappy that she stepped on them but yay! they were finally coming up! And when I got down on my hands and knees and looked really really hard I saw some teeny carrot seedlings as well.

This weekend we leave for a five day trip to Florida. While I'm gone the tomato seedlings and cucumber plants should come up in the little mini greenhouse in the mudroom and the potato sets should arrive from the seed company. We've got a timer on the hose and beautiful weather ahead for when we are gone so, fingers crossed, by the time we are back it should be looking like a real garden.