Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's up?

After being sown on the 11th of March, the pea shoots emerged first,  a week ago. They were followed by a couple of cucumbers. By yesterday 80% of peas and 60% of cucumbers had open green leaves. I glared at the empty Charentais, watermelon and eggplant rows. Then, just this morning, they were all up, too.

I bring the trays in every night and must cover them with their domes or the cat nibbles the tempting young greens. Out they go in daylight.

Also up are the reluctant Linaria pupurea from my mother's garden. The tiniest seeds followed by the most minute seedlings I have ever seen. If they mature and bloom I shall have to deadhead them scrupulously, as they are invasive. But they are lovely cut flowers.

And a few of the second edition of the Red Pear cherry tomatoes, that were the last to emerge scantily in my first sowing of February 27th came up, too. I'd say the seed (Seed Savers in this case) was poor stock.

The other seedlings from the February sowing, Red Zebra and Lemon Drop tomatoes, are very healthy; Seneca sunflowers are 6" high, and one of three sown Apios americana (native groundnut), collected in Ellen's Pennsylvania is up and already resembling a twining vine, with a miniature and sharp forked tongue of leaves at the tip.

I may do some guerrilla gardening with the sunflowers when they are tough enough; they will be too tall for round pots on the roof.  I can already hear the crashing as they blow over.  And then I had better steel myself for disappointment if they die, are broken, or are peed on. There's a triangle of earth between lanes of traffic near the tennis walls where I play, that needs plants. It says "Greenstreets"  but ain't nothing green about it.

Last night pellets of ice rattled down on the terrace and the skylights and the next three nights will be below freezing, thwarting my wish to plant the peas on the roof. I shall have to confine my efforts to clearing out a large cracked pot and repotting the lilies, fennel and overwintered hollyhock in a new one. The hollyhock braved the entire winter only to start showing limp green leaves a few days ago. Digging down I found that it had rotted below the soil line, and where I took off the rotted pieces of stem, a magnificent, burgundy-coloured jelly has emerged. Weird. Will I have hollyhock flowers this year?

We shall see.
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