|light starved seedlings- just recently moved to the south-facing window|
So the St. Louis winter in St. Paul is less cold, but is clearly still a real winter. The couple of inches of snow I cleared off the sidewalk this morning is now blowing back onto the sidewalk in a 30 to 40 mile per hour wind. I walked to the bus stop after shoveling, slipping on the thin layer of powdery snow on top of a layer of glare ice every few steps. I almost fell on my butt, and a car slowed down as if to ask if I needed help, but I looked away, not wanting to let go of the little bit of pride I still had. I do know how to walk in snow, thanks.
The spring equinox is only a few days away- teasing me and everyone else in Minnesota with the promise of warmth and green. But winter clearly isn't leaving any time soon and it's starting to make me nuts.
I started a bunch of seedlings March 8th. It may be too early, but I don't care. If we have an early spring again (which is seeming increasingly unlikely) then I can plant them outside. If not, I'll have to be creative. Maybe I'll build a temporary hoop house, or repot them and put them under a fluorescent light.
Starting the seedlings was more of an emotional decision than a rational one anyway. I really want to see something growing and green, and the ultimate outcome of the seed starts will be dealt with when the time comes. I'm tired of looking out the window and seeing nothing but shades of white, gray and blue.
|some of the rose cuttings are starting to take off|
This created a bit of a problem- I started the seeds too early, and now they're coming up ahead of time. How do I slow this process down now that it's started?
I might just put them outside for a while if it gets above freezing soon. With the terrarium covers, they'd be fine most likely. And I could trim back some that already have multiple leaves- like the peas. Pea greens are good eating, so those could go in a salad and we'd have zero waste from the process. Actually, I ought to start some more peas- I could really go for some fresh greens right now.
|no luck yet with the tropicals|
So I went there and bought some taro root (the plant is typically known as 'Colocasia' in the snottier parts of the nursery trade, and can cost a bunch of money there, but is the exact same plant that people eat all over the tropical world). Taro, sometimes called 'Yuca' in Latin America, is a tasty root vegetable, and people also eat the leaves (but only when cooked) in Nepal. And it looks pretty cool when it's growing. I bought three taro corms the size of coconuts for just under six dollars and potted them up and waited for them to grow. I also bought sixty cents worth of ginger root and turmeric root and gave them their own pots too.
I've been waiting over a month now, and nothing yet. I'm not sure if it's too cool in the house, or maybe just not moist enough- or what? I'm hoping that the folks at Dragon Star didn't spray them with growth retardants like some conventional supermarkets do. I often assume that Asian markets won't take the chemical shortcuts that the American markets do- but that may not always be the case. I'll give the roots some more time just in case- but I'm starting to think that I wasn't quite as clever as I had originally thought.
The rose cuttings that I wrote about a couple of posts ago are starting to green up. A few already have sent out shoots and have leaves. This is my first year rooting roses, so I have no idea what to expect. The dry winter air has pinched off some of the early, blanched shoots that shot up while they were still wrapped in wet newspaper. I didn't think those would make it, but misted them with a sprayer every morning anyway. I potted up some Bali cherry cuttings as well, and those seem to be rooting- though it's hard to tell from the top growth.
One thing I haven't tried rooting yet this year- currants. I love the currants we have growing in our yard so far and want to propagate some of the red and white ones and plant them in our derelict perennial bed- the last prime planting spot in the yard that doesn't have much of anything in it that was put there intentionally.
I was going to put raspberries there- but they don't cooperate when you try to keep them out of the beds next door- so I think it'll be more currants. Not as good eating off the bush- but productive- and they make really good jelly and syrup. Last year we made a batch of currant syrup as well as some stir-fry from the quart or so of red and white currants- and it was delicious. We ate the syrup on pancakes. It didn't last long. The kids preferred it even to maple syrup and that's saying a lot.
I'm curious to hear what others are doing to cure cabin fever right now. If you've started plants indoors too early- or, better yet, are taking a vacation in a place where tropical plants are actually growing, let me know. I always enjoy reading your comments, so feel free to leave them.