Not too early to get spring vegetable seeds in ground

May 01, 2012 12:30 pm
As an avid reader of this newspaper, keeping up with the community and especially gardening events or locations, I do try to not make statements that would impact both myself or readers of this column in a negative manner.

So if I missed the announcement that Stargazer Perennials north of Summerville had closed, my humble apologies. If an announcement has not been forthcoming, then please read on before you get in your vehicle and drive to their nursery imagining that you will have a delightful plant experience.

Several weeks ago, in my usual spring zeal to evaluate all the nurseries in our area, I made the trip to Stargazer and discovered a sign that read “Closed for the Season.” Being somewhat disappointed, and calculating mentally the roughly $4 per gallon gas was costing, I decided to be more patient and return at a more reasonable time.

So you can imagine my great surprise upon arriving at their nursery very recently to discover that a huge fence had been built up around the front of the property and a giant “Closed to the Public” sign greeted me.

Behind one gate you could see rows upon rows of lovely plants but no way to view or purchase them. Again, the thought crossed my mind regarding the cost of fuel to drive to their facility, and the fact that I could only imagine there had to be others like myself that simply did not know Stargazer Perennials was no longer selling from their nursery but were strictly an online or mail-order business now.

It was, as always, a lovely drive, but the disappointment felt was genuine. As I returned to town I wondered if I had missed something in the paper and if not, then I needed to advise my readers to not waste the trip to their nursery! I located their website and did not see any disclaimers about being closed to the public. Truly a disappointment as I had enjoyed for the past several years perusing their plants and coming home with a full car.

On a much happier note, a giant tip of the gardening hat to GrandeScapes Nursery and Grande Ronde Hospital for the installation of the new garden and meditation area that includes a very classy water feature just to the north of the main level parking area. The stone pavers are completely in place and a sitting bench is available under a shade tree. It is an attractive and peaceful feature that already seems to be a popular spot to sit and appreciate the truly calming nature of running water.

It is not too early to get spring vegetable seeds in the ground. Lettuce, peas, beets, chard, radishes and multiple varieties of herbs can all be planted now. If you have chives in your garden from last year, then you know how wonderful and fresh they can be, you can also sow all types of allium seed, except garlic, now.

Onion seeds are hardy, although they may not sprout immediately. Our soils are still too cold for beans or corn; they will simply rot in the ground.

Garlic should really, truly, only be planted in the fall, spring-planted garlic will never reach harvestable size. Your garlic should be up and growing well, just remember to clip the flowering tops, they are easy to identify as they curl, and use the clipped tops in stir-fry or mixed with morning eggs. Garlic left to flower will also not reach large bulb size as the plant puts its energy into seed production and not bulb growth.

We also had lettuce sprout from the plants left in the garden that overwintered. I’ve heard from several long-time residents and gardeners that they routinely sow lettuce in the fall and get the first crop early. I wondered if the flavor or texture would be affected but it was tender and succulent. We are definitely going to sow more this fall. 

The peas my grandchildren and I started about a month ago are doing well and are beautiful, they are still sheltered in the greenhouse. Our deer fencing isn’t completed yet.

It’s raining again. No gardening outside today, but there is always tomorrow and that’s the way us gardeners are, a hopeful bunch. Until next time, enjoy your dirt!


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