Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The staging area, early morning

That's a picture of my seed-starter trays, sitting on the countertop in my study, awaiting the day I will fill them with peat, seeds, and water. It's tempting to do it now, simply because I am tired of the cold and wet and gray, and starting the seeds would make me feel like there is an end to it all. I know in my head that winter days won't go on forever, but my heart and my head don't alway speak the same language.

Where is my Lubbock winter? The days that are crisp enough for a jacket, but not so cold that I can never seem to get warm? The high, sunny skies the color of cornflowers? Those strange, tantalizing days, when the air is like the burnished surface of a stone? Where are they this year? What the heck is going on? Are we being punished for taking these things for granted?

I suppose we can at least draw solace from the moisture we are getting. My rain barrels are overflowing and the ground is saturated. Wildflowers should be spectacular come summertime.

It is still too soon to start the seeds here on the Southern High Plains, though, even if they really could chase away the winter grays. If I started them today, they'd be ready to transplant about the middle of March, when the chances of a late hard freeze are still high. Ideally, the seeds shouldn't be started until about 6 weeks before planting, and since the first week of April is traditionally when we begin planting here in LBB--the first week we can safely assume the temperatures won't surprise us with an unwelcome drop on the thermometer--that means that seed starting has to wait until...let's see, let me look at the calender here... February 25th.

Two more weeks. I can hold out for two more weeks.


  1. Your trays of pots look awfully familiar--I use some of the same ones. Two weeks doesn't seem so long since I can't start my tomato, basil, and oriental eggplant seedlings for another four weeks here at 7,000 feet in the southern Rockies. Yeah, the moisture is great for those of us always on the edge of drought, but some hints of spring would be sooo welcome. Sending you thoughts of sun and crisp weather--hang in there!

    Susan Tweit (who is using her old blogger account because Typepad is behaving extra-badly today)

  2. I'm having to hold back too. It's so tempting - my fingers are itching to get started, but without a greenhouse I know it's a wasted activity until the start of next month...

  3. It is tempting but better to hold off otherwise you end up with leggy seedlings straining for non existent light. My head knows that but I'm still flicking through the seed packets, just in case one of them says - "plant during cold grey weather"!

  4. Planting out in April?!? First week of June is the earliest up here on the big lake and even then sometimes it stays so cool the plants just huddle together.

    On the other hand it doesn't get dark until 10 pm and the sun rises at 4 or so, so they do get a lot of sunlight - assuming we are not encased in fog ;->

    We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of seed catalogs....

  5. Susan--It's hard to bad-mouth moisture. Still, I'm ready for some warmth.

    VP--too, too tempting. It's days like these that I think I'd like a greenhouse, to be sure. But then I think of the extra work...

    EG--if you find any seeds packets that say that, be sur eto let me know!

    WK--oh, that's right! I always forget about that little bonus of longer summer days up there. Those late light days are extra nice...but I don't know if I could wait until June to plant.

  6. There is no option but to wait - plant out too soon and you lose your 'babies'. As it is not a whole lot happens in those first weeks of June.

    But, we do have a south facing slope, terraced garden beds and a bluestone wall backing up the strawberry bed so that helps. Nice little microclimate and great for gardening. Though being close to the Lake we often are cooler in the summer (and warmer in the winter).

    Todays run to work was at 2 F. A bit of a north wind at times (brr) was offset by the lovely sunrise and the intense warmth of that sun on a sheltered bit of road - it was a palpable change from just a few hundred feet higher. Spring sunshine always amazes me with its strength to warm. There were parts of northern Minnesota that had a 40 degree diurnal temperature variation today!

  7. Susan, I feel for you. I too am used to winter days such as you described. The memory of them sustains me in August, when the weather has turned evil. This year I will be denied that comfort, it seems. I lasted 5 minutes outside this morning before I conceded defeat. I hope we can last winter out!


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