I looked out the window yesterday, March 25th, and all I saw was snow. This time last year our garden was already disked and lettuce was in the ground. The calendar says it’s time to plant. So what did I do? I planted…indoors. I started Better Boy and cherry tomatoes, sweet green peppers, jalapeno peppers, and tomatillos. It sounds like I’m ready for salsa, doesn’t it?
I filled peat pots with seed starting mix and placed them in yogurt containers to keep my spills to a minimum. I used warm water to moisten the soil mix and loosely covered them with a plastic sheet before I set them in our sunny bedroom window.
It wasn’t quite like digging in the soil, but it was still quite satisfying to plant those little seeds and dream of this summer’s fresh salsa.
Veggies and flowers go together like Mickey and Minnie, Fred and Wilma, Sonny and Cher—oops, I took the happy celebrity couple analogy a little too far. My point is that veggies and flowers do not need to be in separate gardens. In fact, your veggies would love the company of flowers.
A couple of years ago, I had problems with our zucchini not setting on fruit. I’d get blooms, but no zucchini. For some reason, bees had stopped visiting my vegetable garden and in order to get zucchini, I resorted to hand pollination. Last year, I planted sunflowers and zinnias and not only did the bees tend to them, but they also covered my zucchini, pumpkin, and watermelon blooms. The zucchini blooms pollinated without my intervention.
In addition to sunflowers and zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, and coreopsis are great for attracting bees. Actually, any colorful, pollen-filled flowers will work. I like the tall sunflowers because they advertise for bees like huge Interstate fuel signs advertise for travelers.
While you’re planning your vegetable garden, don’t forget to reserve a row for the flowers. Trust me, your zucchini and zinnias will get along better than Sonny and Cher.
If I could only get there, I’d start cleaning up the garden. As you can see, there is a huge snow drift in front of our barn garden’s fence that’s so big, I can’t get close. But that’s not stopping me from thinking about planting. I bought some Incredible sweet corn seed this morning at the hardware store.
Incredible is a new-to-me sugar enhanced variety of yellow sweet corn. It grows 8 feet tall stalks and 9 inch long ears. It’s ready to harvest in 85 days. This variety may test my restraint. It will not germinate in cold soils, so I need to wait until the soil temperature is 60 degrees before I plant.
I’m looking forward to trying this variety. It’s hard not to get excited about something that’s sugar enhanced. But in the meantime, I’ll try to be patient as I wait for the snow and the icicles to melt.