60 February 9, 2008
This is the time of the year that spring fever can hit really hard. There is plenty of snow on the ground and the temperatures remain cold. One day, spring arrives in your mailbox. You receive one or more seed catalogs. Maybe spring arrives on your computer as you browse the seed company web sites. It isn’t hard to be tempted into ordering lots of really beautiful plants and packets of the newest and best varieties of flowers and vegetables. You do need to be a little cautious about what you order. I remember getting a seed catalog about 30 years ago. There were so many things that I wanted to buy for the gardens. I totaled up my order and it was over $ 100. 00 in seed packets. It was a lot of money! I don’t think that the dollar amount bothered me as much as the realization that many of the flower seeds that I had ordered would need to be started in the house if they would be of any size to produce flowers that year. I knew that I didn’t have enough sunny windows to properly grow all of the plants. Even if I did manage to grow all of the plants, where was I going to plant all of those plants? Eventually, I took the list and threw it away. Reality is a cruel teacher.
The point of this is that it is easy to get over zealous at this time of the year. If you go shopping for seeds out of a catalog or online, buy what you know you can use.
Another problem that I have seen over the years with catalog sales has to do with the purchase of plants. You place the order with the understanding that the plants will be shipped at the appropriate time for planting in our area. Needless to say, I have talked to many people who have received shipments in early March. People are left scrambling to find containers for the bare root plants they received. They also need to find window space or set up grow lights to keep those plants alive. This doesn’t happen all of the time. But, I have seen it enough times to know that the aggravation it causes has turned off many a gardener from mail order plants. If you order plants, make sure that you specify the proper delivery date.
Spring fever is a tough thing to have this time of the year. Sure, it is fun to plant some seeds and grow a few plants. Just don’t get carried away by starting the seeds too early. On most seeds, you will only need 8 to 10 weeks from seeding to placing the plants outdoors. If we figure May 10 Th as the last average frost, you probably don’t want to start those seeds before mid March. If we get a cool May and you can’t put plants out until the traditional planting date of Memorial Day weekend, than you have almost 6 weeks to wait.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.