Getting the first vegetable seeds planted

It does not seem possible that we are already near the end of February! Daylight Savings Time will begin in two weeks and it will really begin to feel different.

The sad thing about all of this is that I don't feel like I have accomplished much in the garden this winter. I have all of these projects planned and I have yet to complete even one of them. Of course, our winter weather is less than ideal for outdoor works this time of year. It is usually wet and cold and, as seen during the past week, some ice and snow. However, on the whole, we have had a mild winter and some really nice stretches of dry and sunny days. So I have no one to blame but myself.

One of the local weather forecasters is an avid gardener so naturally I prefer to watch him. Last week he said that he normally plants peas on President's Day. This sent me into a mild state of panic as I realized that I had really been neglecting the vegetable garden and the planning of it for the coming year.

This brings me to the subject of seeds, a bit of a futile endeavor for me but one that I refuse to let go of. I am not very good with seeds. I plant them carefully with the utmost determination to succeed. But then, my mind wanders to other areas (I am undiagnosed ADD, I admit it) and often (before I finally learned to mark the areas that I planted!),  I would plant something else over them or give up on the seeds and decide that an already growing, purchased plant, would be of more use in that spot.
If the seeds do make it to the sprouting stage, you have to thin them out, another task in which I usually fail.

I have also admitted that I am a seed hoarder. Despite my best efforts at organization (I was a librarian, for heaven's sake!), I find myself purchasing seeds, only to later discover partially-filled and sometimes even unopened packets stashed somewhere in a drawer or in the tool shed. I am hopeless.

Despite all of this griping, I have to say that the vegetable garden last year was one of the best I have ever grown. And many of the plants began from seeds. The major difference in growing vegetables here in the Pacific Northwest as opposed to Alabama is that cool-weather plants (like lettuce, cabbage, etc.) do better than hot weather plants (melons). Which brings us back to the subject of peas...

Last year, the peas I planted ('Sugar Daddy' and 'Super Snappy') were so delicious! We ate most of them straight off the vine. So, this morning, despite the damp and dreariness, I got the peas planted. I also planted radishes. According to my guide, February is also a good month to get onion sets and potatoes in the ground.

And, as a sign that Spring is truly on the way, this little Anenome (Anemone coronaria) started blooming last week, right before the snow. I thought that the snow and temperatures in the low 20s would do it in, but here it is today, happy as a lark!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. There are a lot worse things to hoard then seeds... I think many gardeners who read this post will admit in their heart of hearts that do the exact same things: not complete winter projects, late to plant seeds, buy more of what's already in the drawer... Thanks for reminding me it's peas planting time, the most successful crop in my garden!

  2. I giggled at your admission of a seed stash. I can say I am the same way about seeds. It makes me feel better knowing I am not the only one. I have some that are so old the packages are disintegrating. ha.. Plant on...

  3. I have my mom's seed stash. She passed 7 years ago & I could never bring myself to plant them.

  4. I found myself laughing as you described your experience with vegetable seeds. Sounds very familiar! I am planting my spring vegetables next week; they will be transplants. I like instant gratification. ( Unfortunately, so do rabbits and other munching critters. But I am hopeful, as always, that I will harvest more than they do.)

  5. You have me rolling Phillip! I'm 58 and for the first time I thinned out the seeds I planted! I think a lot of us might have these problems. Haha! Except Danni from Critter Farm....I swear she is a perfect gardener!!


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