Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where's that Crystal Ball?

Blue Boy Bachelor Button
from Botanical Interests site
It's that time of year--the time when I obsessively check the 10 day weather forecast and try to guess when the last frost will be.

This is the 3rd year now that I've done some direct sowing outdoors and the 2nd year now that I've tried to determine (with lots of failed research and a final desperate guess) when it's a good time to plant those things that do best when planted a few weeks before the last frost.

The first year I went blithely on my way aiming for Memorial Day and counting back.  For some things that worked--all the veggies and some flowers--and for others it seemed to be the wrong move--first columbine didn't come up until the next year, and then last year columbine and nodding allium didn't come up at all and may or may not come up this spring--which may have been because it was too warm and they needed some time in the cold, or maybe it was something I did and has nothing to do with the weather?

Wish I knew!

The thing is, experience tells me that Memorial Day is way past the safe time here where we are (not necessarily true even 10 miles west of here, though!), but I have yet to find anyone who has a better answer.

Plus, I'm impatient to get going with it already--it's been a rough winter!

So, I planted some bachelor buttons (blue and dark pink) today and the dream is (for now) alive--hope Mother Nature plays along with me....


  1. I don't do seeds usually (my garden is way over-planted by now), but it is always fun to read about other gardeners' experience with sowing seeds. Good luck, I hope they all bloom and make your garden beautiful.

  2. Dear Daphne, If you call your local Extension office, they will be able to tell you the expected last frost day for your area. I am zone 5, and don't plant annuals, vegetables or tender perennials until Memorial Day. I am ready to sow my lettuce and peas though as they don't mind the cold weather. I am sure your flowers will be lovely this year! P. x

  3. Masha, thank you--I really enjoyed myself 2 years ago with lots of seed plants and loved the result--I'm hoping for similar results this year!

    Pam, would you believe I've been googling like crazy but never thought to make a simple phone call! Thanks so much for the advice, I appreciate it!

  4. Pam's advice is spot-on. Try sowing the seeds in separate areas in two week intervals, writing down when you planted each batch. It will help you know which dates were the best. My Touchstone Gold beets just popped up today. They are planted in containers. :o)

  5. I am also not very patient and do things earlier rather than later. Good luck to you!

  6. Casa Mariposa: I just planted my beets yesterday--I'd never had them fresh before I grew them last year and really liked them--good look with yours!

    Tatyana--here's hoping we end up glad for our impatience and not regretting it! Hope yours go well!

    RE: Extension Office--Had a frustrating run around with the local branch's automated phone tree (which, among other things, had no option to actually speak to a human!) I'll have to try the state's main office later in the week.