Sue and I are just back from a quick but really fun trip to Charlottesville VA. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to bring my tomato tales to the Piedmont Master Gardener group there on Thursday night. But now we are home, and here we will stay - at least until my next trip, to Longwood Gardens in PA, in mid-May.
But between now and then - yikes. This may be one of the most challenging springs ever for me in terms of ending up with handsome, healthy seedlings. The whole year since starting seed has been a bit out of synch for me, impacted by speaking events that, timing- and duration-wise, didn't mesh well with the critical steps of seed starting, transplanting and hardening off. The unusual temperatures - too high early, too low later on - and windy, cold rain took their toll as well. 2016 will not go down as a banner year for my seed starting and seedling creating activities.
I spent hours today working through my seedlings, noting varieties that really didn't fare well at all. The week that they spent in the garage, combined with the heavy dose of windy, cold rain the day they went back outside shows in the foliage, and in the number of seedlings that didn't make it. I actually wonder if a bit of sub 32 temps crept into the garage, looking at some of the damage.
Enough seedling sob stories - the sun is back out, we should (finally!) get some mild to warm evenings, and all will be well. I have more transplanting to do, bales to order, place and treat, greens and beets to plant, and events to prepare for. The next month will certainly be a blur....but if all goes well, once mid May is reached, all will be planted and Sue and I can anticipate the harvest to come.
It turns out that the decision to say "goodbye" to the From The Vine seedling sales was well-timed, coinciding with such a challenging start. I like change, and it felt like it was time to simplify things a bit (though nothing feels particularly simple right now). I do think that this garden will be smaller, less complex, less ambitious than recent efforts...and that may end up being a good thing. I do worry about the increased squirrel population in our yard, and there are a few rabbits about.
I am still trying to figure out how we can be moving into late April - when it feels like we just flipped the page into the year 2016.