Aware in April

The work in the greenhouse continues - each day I try to plant or pot up some seedlings. I estimate that I handle the plants at least three times, at a minimum, before they are sold. Such a close connection to the plants really gives me insight into how they grow, what they look like at various stages, and provides a tactile experience that gives me joy. Playing in the dirt is such fun! As the plants get larger, I move them from under the grow lights to the greenhouse, where the additional filtered light gives them a spurt of growth. I am thrilled with the automatic openers that came with the greenhouse - I now can see at a glance when to shut off the heat or turn it back on. Even during cloudy days, there can be enough warmth so that I can forgo having the pellet stove being cranked up. Truly, spring is here.

The plants in my landscape, though, tell me that it is not quite time for too much growth. The buds are swelling, but most of the plants seem to be still taking their time to get going and get green. I did see a couple of female red-winged blackbirds the other day, so it must be spring. They, and the spring peepers, which I have yet to hear, really make the spring season come alive for me. There are suddenly a plethora of birds, many more than visited the yard all winter. I am used to many birds at the feeder, such as cardinals, grosbeaks, and more, and there were only titmice, nuthatches, and chickadees here on the hill, as well as the overabundant squirrels. Caution is advised that feeders be brought in now, as the bears will be awakening and have an uncanny knack for finding those feeders.

So far, the native plants are gaining on the herbs I started. Some of them are still small, but I suspect they will grow quickly once they are brought into the greenhouse. For a full list of all the plants, please email. I will give a partial list here - some things are in very short supply. Others I have plenty of. Ordering early is best if there is something you really want. Natives or herbs are $5.00 each in a 4" pot. Tomatoes and hot peppers will be $2.50 each. These will be in 4" pots with a strong root system.

HERBS - Bloody Dock, Lovage, Costmary, Bronze Fennel, Astragalus, Salad Burnet, Elecampane, Milk Thistle, Sage, Clary Sage, Horehound, Rue, Lettuce Leaf Basil, Amrita Holy Basil, Vana Holy Basil, Temperate Holy Basil, Czech Lavender, Papalo, Toothache Plant, Borage, Chamomile.

NATIVES - Aconiutm uncinatum, Ageratina altissima,  Althaea officinalis, Anemone virginiana, Apocynum cannabium, Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias tuberosa,  Baptisia australis, Campanula americana, Coreopsis lanceolata, Eupatorium serotinum, Heuchera americana, Lobelia cardinalis, Monarda fistulosa, Monarda punctata, Parthenium integrifolium, Penthorum sedoides, Pycnanthemum muticum, Silene stellata,  Solidago altissima, Solidago ulmifolia, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, Veronicastrum virginicum

TOMATOES - Prudens Purple, Ruby Gold, Aunt Ruby's Green, Cherokee Purple, Be My Baby (Cherry)

PASTE TOMATOES - Amish Paste, Orange Banana, Blue Beech Paste

HOT PEPPERS - Fish, Hinklehatz, Biquinho

Remember to be aware of April - this can be a whimsical month with weather extremes. Don't put out tender plants until at least the middle of May if you are in the northeast. Also, any plants you buy should be conditioned to the outdoors by putting them in a shady place for a few hours a day. The sun can burn tender plants, so be especially careful that you acclimate them before subjecting them to your garden.

Happy Spring!

Karen