For the last two weeks we have had gorgeous, sunny, warm weather. Garden supply stores have been swamped with people eager to get their paws in the dirt. But most of us know better than to get overzealous about the seventy and eighty degree temperatures.
Although I love a few vegetable and herb plants scattered throughout my landscaping, and I think the early trucks bring the best new plants, I do not put them outside until danger of frost and freeze – or snow – is past. But I can’t leave them in the scrawny root-binding plastic packs either, so I repot them in nice roomy containers and place them in front of a sunny window.
Turns out, our warm spell was broken over night. We awoke to a snow storm. Yikes! It won’t last long, but would cause those tender plants to freeze and wither if left outside.
Many people did start their gardens here. Onions and potatoes are probably alright. Although I don’t plant those labor intensive things like corn, beans, potatoes, peas, I do enjoy tomato plants, bell peppers, cucumbers and lettuce as well as fresh herbs that I can even bring indoors in the fall and use most of the winter.
I’ll get them started off right, expose them gradually to the harsh sun – a process known as ‘hardening off’ – and hopefully will make a plate of pasta or a pizza with fresh basil that will tasted like food of the gods! And of course, there is the great southern classic: tomato sandwich – with mayonnaise on white bread!
But until May 1st, I’m keeping my tender plants indoors where they will be safe and protected from this unpredictable weather. Now if I can only find my boots…