It’s March and it’s time to kick off yardwork projects. It’s slow going weeding our turf-free backyard, so I squeeze in 5-to-15 minute plucking sessions whenever I can.
First major project is to lay down pre-emergent and fertilize the lawn. Which necessitated a run to the big box stores.
Which meant perusing the garden center for any desirable plants.
In one instance, there were plenty of bargain bin plants that were hastily thrown onto the dollar shelves due to frost damage. I managed to snag 2 Autumn Twist azaleas for $2 apiece.
The Pink marguerite daisies and some purple spotted petunias also jumped into my cart, along with some bare root asparagus and 2 bags of gladiolus.
I ended my shopping spree with 3 succulents; I’ve been thinking of how I’d be populating my succulent planter, and these sedum and echevarria will fit the bill.
My Botanical Interest seeds came in, but apparently my order from Annie’s Annuals has yet to arrive (despite an ETD of 3/4).
Meanwhile, I continue to clean out the front yard, debating on what plants need replacement, what plants to monitor, what to divide and/or move and what to do with that zone 1 drip line that doesn’t seem to be doing anything.
There are still plenty of work to be done to clear the beds of storm debris and frost damaged plants. But the seed starting bug has already bitten me hard.
End of January, I had already started a batch of veggie soil blocks which include tomatoes, habaneros, bok choy, lettuces, spinach, bunching onions, and eggplant. I was lucky enough to source most of the seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, who had them in stock at the time.
I have perennial and annual flowers started in soil blocks as we end February in a flurry of garden prepping.
But of course, there are never enough seeds to start and plant.
I’m not the only one with a gardening bug. Seed companies and online plant purveyors have been hammered by the pandemic demand; most are advertising low inventories and out of stock items. My normal go-to vendors are struggling to keep up with the demand, I’m having a hard time filling out my wish list. Meanwhile, local nurseries are still recovering from the winter storm, so inventories might still be scarce as of this writing.
If I do find something I want, it’s usually through Amazon and I’m highly suspect of the quality. I’m still frustrated by the habanero pepper seeds I obtained through there; germination rates are very low, even after re-sow attempts as we are enter the 4th week since I planted them. I plan on moving them onto my growing stand with the powerful lights to see if that will spur them into germination.
As evidenced on my Instagram feed, my garden experienced the worst temperature extremes that Texas endured in the new year. We saw the lowest temperature I’ve ever witnessed in all the years I’ve lived in North Texas: -1F.
The historic winter storm knocked out power, water and cell data for 2 days. Our yard was buried in snow for at least 4 days. The community pond was completely frozen over.
The outdoor greenhouse tent could not sustain the plants housed within especially with no power to heat the space. Similarly, my garage was plunged in cold and darkness, freezing the most sensitive plants.
I’m still tallying the losses. The weekend following the storm, we set about to pruning the roses, and removed some dead branches and debris from the front yard. Most of the snow had begun to disappear by this time.
Frost hardiness for some plants seem hit or miss. I had put out some nasturtium seedlings earlier in the year; those were a loss. But I also planted out some romaine lettuce seedlings, and they seemed to have survived.
Needless to say, this means more seed starting and emptying pots to make way for new plants.
Looking ahead at the forecast, it seems that we will be seeing highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s beginning the second week of March. I’m already thinking about all the gardening tasks I have to do to prep the beds to receive new plants.