|Wait until Good Friday for pea planting?|
Not in NW Arkansas.
Spring has not yet arrived in many places, such as Midland, Michigan, where snow is coming again.
We should be done with snow, and no frost warnings lie ahead. We have temperature ranges of 40 to 70 degrees, with plenty of rain in the forecast.
I bought seeds ahead because I have found myself short in the very types I wanted in the past, such as scarlet runner beans. Favorite roses are always sold out early, including Peace and Double Delight.
Because of my early purchases, the seed companies kept offering me free shipping one more time, in apocalyptic language, over the last few months. That is quite handy, since a last-minute purchase of several packets will not work well if shipping doubles the cost of the order.
|Order early, harvest early.|
Sow Abundantly, Reap Abundantly
- Small (envelope within an envelope - don't sneeze),
- Medium (25 seeds),
- Large (1500 seeds),
- Duggar (small cardboard box), and
- Super Walmart (enough to compost and have plenty to spare).
I bought thousands of zinnia seeds (called the desert rose) for Phoenix and covered the pool area with a sea of flowers. Old Precious would sit in the zinnias and watch us swim, always ready to sound an alarm if needed.
Once an insurance executive pointed out the problem of small congregations, which are similar to small insurance agencies he helped manage - "People think they are more important than they are." That happens with seeds, although they do not really do any thinking until they are planted. If I have 25 seeds, each one is a jewel and too precious to sow. Placing individual seeds is tough on the back muscles.
If I have thousands of seeds, I feel free to sow them in wide rows, cover the area, and tamp it down gently with a rake or my foot. That does not mean standing on it to squash the soil. I hold onto the fence with one hand and tap the soil with my foot. Secondly, I run the aqueduct for a time, washing the loose soil into the voids. That gives the seed plenty of motivation to establish roots and grow upwards.
Borage is not only a great bee plant (nicknamed bee bread) but also a host for lacewing insects, which are great predators against insect pests. I remember learning in biology class about lacewings, 50 years ago, and capturing some for my insect collection. I earned an A, no surprise. I added a fake insect on a pin and labeled it with some silly name. The teacher broke into a rare smile.
|Puncture vine or goathead is attractive in bloom,|
but the thorny seeds embed themselves in skin, fur, and carpeting.
Soil temperature clearly triggers growth. Sweet corn cannot survive in cold soil, so the Three Sisters garden is still empty. The roses from last year are soaking in the rain and getting ready to bud, but the crepe myrtle bush lacks a single green leaf.
The peas, which I mourned prematurely, are already sending tendrils up out of the mulch that helped protect and feed them. The sunflowers, far more vulnerable to cold, also survived and came out of the mulch. That tells me that both needed a bit more sunshine and warmth to make the big move into the air. I discovered the hardy peas as mere sprouts under the mulch and left them alone, Their recent growth is astonishing, given their shyness in the cold weather.
Wide Row, French Intensive, Square Foot Gardening
My style of planting has several names, listed above. I saw many old style gardens where plants were lined up like soldiers in neat rows, the soil open for weed germination. That gives most of the garden over to weeds and the hoe.
One alternative is to cover the bare soil with mulch, which is far better than weeding. Ruth Stout is the pioneer in mulching.
A gardening writer observed that thick rows of plants provide their own mulch. That is - the plants shade the soil with their growth and reduce the chance of sunlight fostering the growth of weeds.
|Double Delight rose -|
easy to love, hard to find.
Did Plants Adapt, or Did God Create?
We can see that plants thrive in their own favorite climes. We had puncture vine or goathead growing in abundance in our yard in Phoenix. We collected boxes of them to throw away. Later I hid them in the shade, and they shriveled and composted, never to germinate again.
People see the same data and come to two different conclusions. Earlier, scientists saw the Creation, and many famous scientists were Creationists (a terrible slur now).
Now, everything is explained as Evolution instead. Plants developed a waxy covering to preserve moisture and thrive in the desert. That is why I wrote about thinking plants above. Exactly how does a plant know what to do and how to do it? That fantasy is far beyond my imagination.
Plants do differentiate in their cells, each cell a complicated factory in itself. Try thinking about how that little corn seed turns into a majestic plant with ears of corn, corn silk, broad leaves to capture solar energy, and greedy roots to devour nitrogen for growth. And yet this little corn kernel carries out this incredible transformation without a thought, designed to be a source of food.
Add to that daily miracle the dozens of creatures relating to the plant and the soil.
- Some bring nutrition to the roots (fungi).
- Some mix, fertilize, and sweeten the soil (earthworms).
- Birds look for pests and eat them.
- Squirrels and raccoons search for fresh corn and carry it off.
That summary above is not even a fraction of all the dependencies that make a garden productive, whether we know it or not, whether we plan for it or not.
|Silver Queen corn - the best white corn.|
As a Dow Ag scientist said - "Like eating mush."
He was staggered by my tall plants growing in four feet of compost.