Tuesday, February 15, 2011
A WATCHED POT NEVER BOILS
"A watched seed never germinates". Or so it seems. I have been hovering over my seedling trays anxiously looking for any signs of life. Every time I see a tiny bit of light green starting to poke up through the soil, I celebrate. The peppers that I planted a week ago are starting to wake from the soil and will soon be under the grow lights in the living room. The tomatoes that were planted Feb. 1st have their true leaves and will be ready to be transplanted into bigger pots soon. The Burpee tomatoes had a 100% germination rate which, being the optimist that I am, was a very good thing since I planted only one seed per cell. I really hate culling those extra seedlings. The termperature in the hoophouse today was 66 degrees with a hoophouse soil temperature of 42 degrees. The outside air temperature was 44 degrees. The snow is melting slowly and patches of grass are starting to appear, as if to tease us into thinking that spring is here. But I know that we will probably get more snow and certainly are in for more cold temperatures. The thing is though, the sun is still shining at 5:30 pm, as the daylight stretches out a little more each day. My house plants are responding in the longer days and bright reflected light from the snow cover. It's so sunny inside the house that yesterday I stretched out in a big patch of sunshine on the floor and warmly enjoyed reviewing The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. Smith. This book is definitely my favorite and I refer to it often. Another is Eliot Coleman's Four-Season Harvest which is invaluable for hoophouse gardeners. Of course, I was distracted when a Stinkbug marched across the carpet and then suddenly stopped when it saw me. Stinkbugs are new to our area and every day I find a few hanging on the drapes, perched on plants or dive bombing the lamps. They do not like the cold and find crevices to squeeze into the house. They are weird shield-shaped brown bugs with antennae and long legs and I swear they see me coming and raise themselves higher to intimidate me. I don't kill them because they emit a bad smell when squished, but I do throw them out onto the snow where they go into slow-mo while freezing. I'm not sure which is a worse demise - squishing or freezing!