Thursday, April 10, 2008
It sure seems that spring was early this year. My daffodils and tulips were 2-3 weeks early. Ditto my lilac. Of course, I'm really happy about the lilac as it's one of my favorite fragrances. The bush is loaded with blooms this year too!
Willa and me did a bunch of seed starts a few weeks ago. The germination rate was over 95%, so we're really happy about that. We'll be planting tomatoes with names like Red Siberian, Bloody Butcher and Mexico Midget, not to mention the more usual Italian Plum tomatoes and grape tomatoes. We've also got a good start on pak choi, two types of eggplant (grilled eggplant, yum!), squash, runner beans and bell and spicy peppers.
Did anyone know about compressed peat pellets? They're super compressed into small 1.5" discs and you set them up in a germination tray and give them a good watering with very warm water. They expand about 4 times larger, then you can just pop your seeds in and you're ready. Then after a few weeks, you can just plop the seedlings and their peat pots into the next size up pots, fill with potting soil, water deeply and after a few days of hardening off, they're ready for the green house. I thought those peat pellets were so cool and who ever invented them deserves a real pat on the back.
The Siberian elms seemed to be the first to show green this year. And it's not leaves first... it's their seeds. They're good germinators too. But, BUT, it's a nuisance tree too. At least here, maybe not so in their place of origin. They were brought to Albuquerque by Clyde Tingley, a former mayor and his wife sometime in the late 20's or early 30s as part of a beautification project because they're mildly drought hardy. However they were as someone called them "environmentally ignorant" about how non-native plants can take over an area. Like kudzu in the South. The problem is the nuisance factor. The seeds volunteer everywhere and they're hard to get rid of and the trees are subject to disease too. I do get a chuckle though... some local artist has used them to do a bonasi forest with them and put a picture of it up on his blog. If you go to google images with keywords 'siberian elm seeds' it should be the first picture that comes up.
I love watching how the greens of spring seem to follow the elevation of the town. For example, if the Japanese plum flowers downtown near the railroad, I can pretty much say when other Japanese plums will be green up and flower or in other parts of town within x number of days depending on the elevation and micro climates around them. Ok, that is one of the advantages of generally staying put in one town for a lifetime -- a person has plenty of time to develop intimacy with the environment.