Planting Vegetables

February 29 – Here we are, on Leap Day, which doesn’t leave much more February. It promises to be a day of nice weather, up to 70 degrees maybe. I’m planning to tidy up my work bench in the garage, which hasn’t been worked on for months. Our possum isn’t in its box under the bench this morning, but spent most of the day there yesterday and didn’t seem to mind any noise or activity I provided when getting bird seed out of the containers. No doubt I could have grabbed it by the tail but having done that several times before, I didn’t see any need to do it again.

160229_DaleSeeds

Yesterday I planted vegetable seeds, all tomatoes except for some onion seed. Getting ready to plant seeds might be more complicated than you’d think. I had to get out the little plastic containers for the seed, seed starter mix, the packets of seed out of the container in the refrigerator, watering can, pen and masking tape for labels, and fill a number of the containers with the starting mix. I ended up planting seven different varieties of tomatoes, twelve seeds of each. As I recall, there were Mortgage Lifter, Delicious, Roma, Big Beef, Pearly Pink, Sun Gold, and Caspian Pink. After watering them I put a small sheet of hard clear plastic over each container to keep in the moisture, and set them on an edge of the furnace where warmth would speed germination. In a week or less I expect to see little green shoots coming up. The seed starter mix is treated to kill any fungi that might destroy the seedlings while they are young and defenseless. Ordinary potting soil has not been treated but is fine for seedlings once they are well established.

160229_PlantingSoil

[ Potting soil de jour ]

Chris in the meantime was out in our north pasture, picking up fallen branches, cutting off weedy little trees and thorny wild rose bushes, and raking it all together to add to the big pile of burnables close by. Once the burning ban has been lifted and the grass is moist from rain, we shall light a match and get rid of all of that dry trash.

After the seed planting I meandered out to the barn and did some tidying up. There is lots more waiting to be done out there, though. Some creature has been climbing around and a number of items have been knocked down and left lying around in disarray. I found a small can of something that the creature had considered edible, and it was filled with tooth marks and empty. A possum or raccoon is probably responsible, for the bottom of the back barn door is several inches off the ground which provides easy entrance. Years ago a stray kitten took up residence in the barn and though it was too shy to permit any handling, it did eat food I left for it. One day I went out to the barn and there on the floor were four kitten paws! Some unknown predator had killed the kitty and found the paws inedible.

160229_Seedpacks

[ Seed packs for spring ]

Tiring of barn tidying, I walked off to where Chris was working and lent a hand gathering up some of the fallen branches and cut saplings. The cut rose branches are really a pain to handle, for they stick to everything. Our property holds a vast amount of wild roses and we aim to get rid of most or many of them in due time. Their flowers are unremarkable, and their branches tend to stick out into our trails and grab hold of passers-by. We decided to walk the trails to get more exercise, so away we went, finding that we had company – our next door neighbor’s yellow dog. It had chased the neighbor’s car down the road and then stopped to visit us. It is a rather timid dog but anxious to be petted and tends to jump up and plant its paws on one’s clothing. It ran along with us on our walk and on our return it hung around while we read some magazines on our front porch. Eventually it got a bit chilly out there, so we came indoors and the dog went back home.

Have a great day, everyone, and don’t forget to change those calendar pages for March! – Dale

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