Spring is in the air with seed dreams

I can’t even see the other side of the street through the blowing wind and snow, but spring is right here on my desk.

A pile of seed catalogs peppered with Post-it notes is just waiting for attention, and this is the day to see about it. The seed trays are ready in the basement, I have new bulbs for the fluorescent lamps, and so all that is needed is a seed order.

I do have quite a few seeds on hand this year after sorting through the stash on the back porch, but there are still some to order. Green beans and corn are taken care of. I have five pole beans, including my favorite scarlet runners, and plenty of Serendipity corn.

Now, for the rest of the vegetables.

I saw a mention of Rainbow Swiss chard in a magazine article somewhere, and I was able to find it in Richter’s Canadian catalog. This variety goes one step beyond Bright Lights, which I have grown for several years and includes stems that are red, orange, yellow, purple or white. Very cheerful on the plate!

While browsing this catalog, which is new to me this year, I also found a colorful carrot mix, with purple, yellow, red, orange and white. They will be fun to dig up.

I also ordered a packet of red-pod asparagus beans, a variety of the yard-long beans that are stringless and have a mild asparagus-like flavor. It is supposed to keep its magenta color when cooked. We shall see.

Those three choices should brighten the vegetable garden this summer.

I also found an offering I could hardly believe. A packet of seeds of ground ivy, or Creeping Charlie, offered for $3 a packet. Who in the world would actually pay money for this noxious weed? Even worse than the seeds, you could order plants for $3.25 each. I might just set up a roadside stand on my tree lawn and sell some at a bargain rate.

Then, from Park Seeds, I have ordered flowers, old faithful annuals I know will do well for me. Dolcissima Fragolino are my favorite petunias for hanging baskets. This year, I upped my order of assorted portulaca to three packets in hopes I can grow enough of them and save the expense of a flat of plants.

Two sunflower mixes will provide all shapes and sizes with a Van Gogh mix and some Giant Sungold. And, although I did save some seed from my Sunrise Surprise black-eyed Susan vines that flank the garage doors, I bought one pack of them just in case.

I also found the violet accent star impatiens that did so well last year, and I will try again to get Stokes aster to produce its lovely blue flowers in late summer.

A selection of Rare Succulent mix should do well in my new vertical planter. I always have a sneaking suspicion that mixes contain all the seeds they sweep up from the floor of the greenhouse, but that’s OK. There are some surprises that way.

I will buy my tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumber and broccoli locally as plants, letting those

more skilled than I give them a good start.

So there it is, and all I have to do now is to look out for my faithful mailman.

Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program.

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