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Seeds Have Left the Cityslipper Ranch!

Packing Vegetable Seeds

I wasn’t in great shape when it was time to pack and mail seeds. Happily, I had enough complete seed sets for everyone who qualified in the giveaway.

It has been a rough month: harsh punctuation to a difficult year. As my annual seed giveaway closed, I jumped from garden conference to garden conference and crashed with a sinus infection when I should have been mailing out seeds. Despite the plugged pipes, I managed to get seeds in the mail, and they should all have arrived at the homes of their new gardeners.

Start Your Peppers and Tomatoes!

For pretty much everyone in the United States, it’s time to start tomato and pepper seeds. Actually, it’s a little late for people in the south. In hardiness zone 6b, seedlings go in the garden around June 1st (though our last frost date is, supposedly, May 15).

Ideally, peppers will have two full months from seeding to transplant into the garden. Tomatoes will do fine with six weeks from seeding to transplanting. I encourage you to seed winter squash in late May or early June and transplant it to the garden in July.

I’ve written many posts about starting seeds, so rather than repeat myself, I’ve included a list (see box) of articles to provide help in case seed starting is all new to you.

Thanks for Participating!

It’s a privilege to have readers who take time to participate in my giveaways. As with most giveaways, I asked participants in this year’s to tell stories that would make me laugh. Honestly, things swung hard the other way! Many entrants told stories of how their gardens failed. Whether family pets, wild marauders, or hapless spouses destroyed a garden, I felt sad with each such story. Perhaps next year I’ll ask entrants to share gardening successes; those, at least will make me smile… though they might not make me laugh. (Stacia Brooks’s cucumbers made me smile.)

Seed sets ready to mail

The box of envelopes minutes before I took them to the post office. I’ve heard from several readers already that they’ve received their seeds.

Sorry I’m so hard to amuse, but thank you all for your efforts.  Susie Yarbrough tickled me a bit with her story of her 4-year-old son scavenging all her cherry tomatoes. Handy Helen also got a small chuckle with her story of slow-to-sprout seeds.

Debi Marti’s groundhog made me sad. (I’ve seen a 14 foot row of mature broccoli vanish into a groundhog in just a few hours.)  Tamar Apkarian’s Super Bowl reference was timely, but her rabbits were discouraging. I was sad to hear that last year’s squash seeds failed for Una Walker, and the tomato seeds did only slightly better… and to hear that her sweet Italian peppers never made it to red! Sigh.

Canning orange tomatoes

I ended up choosing Moonglow as the “mystery tomato.” The photo shows one way I’ve used orange tomatoes: I once canned 9 pints of combined Moonglows and Valencias. The packed jars glowed gorgeous orange and provided accents in several dishes through the year.

David Moffitt? Well… we’ve had beers together. What else can I say? Bobbi Thomas made me very sad by reminding me of the many years I’ve planted too early and had to drape my garden with large plastic sheets to protect wimpy plants from late frost.

Tim Brenner’s admission that the giveaway instructions were overly complex confirmed what I said in the instructions. I might make it easier next year and simply ask everyone to leave comments and mailing addresses, but it seems important to encourage participants to invite others also to participate… I guess I’ll figure this out next February.

Birds, pickle worms, contractors, seeds that didn’t germinate, clumsy cats, dreams of giant-killing, stubborn husbands, banana plants and syrup bottles, green paint on your thumbs (won’t fool your plants…), more dogs, weeds, prehistoric outhouses (septic fields are great for gardening as well), a steer (moo), soap-flavored cucumbers, manure plunges, and plant-killing crows, were all good stories. Thank you for sharing and best of luck with this year’s vegetable garden!

 

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