Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thinking About Spring

by Karen Rose Smith

When Pennsylvania is in the middle of ice and snow, I think of Spring!!! Seriously, it's the way I get through the winter.  With my outside time limited, I think of the plants I can start inside. I have two grow lights and heat pads in the basement. (The two strays we care for make use of one in the winter so I have to leave room for them!)

My favorite petunias to grow are Purple Pirouettes and Red Pirouettes.  They are a flashy flower and look beautiful in pots, hanging baskets, or in a protected area in the garden. Sometimes there are variations on the colors in the seed packet and they are happy surprises. But the sun also changes their colors.

Snapdragons also need to be started by the end of January.  Again I have my favorites.  I like unusual ones I can't find in the garden centers or nurseries around Hanover.  We lost one of our garden centers that had the unusual in herbs as well.  What I like about Spring is that we can purchase flowers and herbs from small local businesses. These are Appleblossom Twinny Snapdragons and they make a terrific border flower as well as grow healthily in pots.

 I usually plant profusion zinnias in peat pots in February.  They are a slow grower.  They reach their full potential and beauty with plenty of bushiness in August.  They come in several color varieties--white, yellow, coral, red and pink. These flowers also change hues with the amount of sun they absorb.  Especially the coral ones.

I also grow heirloom tomatoes.  Hubby insists we could buy bushel baskets of them to cook to freeze for winter with less expense, but I prefer knowing that my tomatoes are pesticide free and I can eat the skin!  Nothing is better than using that first lush tomato on a salad or burger.  I like yellow ones for less acid both in cherry tomatoes and larger ones.  I usually choose varieties that can grow into a pound.  That makes cooking and freezing take less time. 

When I ordered seeds in December, I forgot to order marigolds.  But they are a flower that can be planted anytime after mid May.  I start some inside to use in pots since I plant those first.  But last summer, I just put ground in smaller flower pots, sprinkled them with marigold seeds, watered them and put them in sunlight.  They grew into beautiful pots of flowers.

How do you THINK SPRING???

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