There’s an ice day today.

Schools are closed all day. Some businesses and government offices are as well. Last year there was a day where nothing closed, the ice storm did actually start right during morning rush hour, and there were hundreds of accidents. So now the city is laughably gun shy. Looks pretty slippery out there to me. What do you think?

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I mean, it did get chilly. Down into the 20s even. Our windows aren’t the best, so I thought these delicate little folks should take a break from the kitchen windowsill and make their way to the island for the night.
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Attempted Murder

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These little sprouts have been stretching steadily toward the light a few inches above their heads. As I tend to do this time of year, I get forgetful, neglectful, overrun with life. This year was no different, and I wandered into the spare room to find the poor sprouts gasping for water.

They’ve since been watered and babbled at by an interested baby, so surely they’ll recover as though nothing ever happened. One can hope.

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Beginnings and ends.

I think I’m still getting used to cycles in this part of the globe. As a child, the pensive hours, the long days indoors, and the ends came in the winter months before the beginnings of spring. The holidays were there to keep you company. With family, with baking, with decorating, with giggling cousins or parents’ friends’ stories, the long grey days seemed warm (and the wood stove helped!) There was candlelight and cookie icing to brighten the end of the year and hold everyone over until the daffodils broke ground. Until the green shone through the drizzle. Until the beginnings began again.

This part of the world, you get your cabin fever in the summer. You get addicted to the AC. You avoid the UV. You make your alphabet soup with different letters, but it’s still alphabet soup. It occurred to me today, that as I finish harvesting the carrots, the beets, the chard, the beans. As I finish harvesting the more sensitive families of food, it’s time to sow the seeds for the fall. Minus the heat-lovers and the cool-friendly, the rotation is about the same – what grows in the spring grows again in the fall, except here the die-out is over the summer.

So the onions, beets, and carrots will begin again in October, even though they’re also ending now.

The peppers and tomatoes are still going strong. They are loving the heat, but will soon lose their taste for it when it averages another 10 degrees higher each day. As they end, their seeds are dried, labeled, and stored for sowing just after Christmas.

It’s an adjustment, to find new-growth withdrawals as summer officially begins with the solstice tomorrow, but I make do.

It’s simply odd. When the winter doldrums are setting in for most gardens I hear about, read about, or dream about, they are ever-surprised at the winter growth going on in my beds. It only makes sense that when other gardens I hear about, read about, and dream about are in full growth swing with their flowers blossoming, their growth beginning in the summer: I have the same surprise, the same envy.

And so, I help new life into the world. I bring the sunshine in. I sow the seeds of the next cooler season and watch hope grow. Hope for evening breezes, for light sunshine kisses, for days so glorious you beg them not to end.

This time, hope takes the form of Lemon Basil, Cumin, Dark curly leaf parsley, and always – always – a volunteer squash.

Caring for the wee ones.

When sprouting indoors from seed, quite often the light comes from one direction. My tomato sprouts shall demonstrate:

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I rotated them last night when they were facing the other way. They’ll get rotated 90 degrees tomorrow.

Nearly all of the tomato sprouts are up now. They usually appear one to three at a time until the ones that are going to germinate at all have done so. The ground cherries have yet to make an appearance.

The peppers, absent last night entirely, have almost all risen in unison today. Here are two emerging from their seed casings.

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The leaves will open more, discarding the seed’s exterior to the soil.

Onions don’t have two seed leaves like many veggies do, and end up hanging onto their seeds for quite awhile.

Onion sprouts start like little wriggly, white, worms.

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There’s one in the middle there, blending in nonchalantly, and another along the top edge.

The root end takes a few days to take hold, and as it’s working on that, the sprout elongates.

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With the root end more firmly gripping the earth, the sprout musters its wee strength and starts to stretch for the sun.

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At this stage, they are kind of comical. Bending this way, twisting around, seed ends getting stuck on other sprouts nearby…they amuse me a fair bit with their antics.

The air is dry here lately. A few weeks without rain, little humidity, and clear nights has the static up and the soil gasping quickly between waterings. I’m watering now by gently pouring small amounts near the sprouts. I don’t want to drown them, or soak the soil, but misting with my spray bottle won’t last 12 hours in these conditions.

I am getting antsy to put the seeds in the garden next weekend. Today was intended as a soil amendment day, but both Plan A and Plan B for adding compost and manure were a bust. Hopefully it comes together tomorrow so I can have it piled and ready as a weekday evening project this week.

Thing I learned today? 

– Beets aren’t something to start inside, but should be direct sown like other root veggies. So sayeth the package.

Any activity in your growth this week? Any prep work to be done or planting you’re (im)patiently waiting to do?