Could It Really Be Spring?

I don’t want to get too excited, because it is still March in Chicago, but is it possible that spring has really arrived? It sure feels like it, with the flurry of activity around here lately. And the weather – we’ve had a couple of really nice days recently where we could open the back door and a few windows. You can feel the sun and the breeze is warm, in the upper sixties. And the forecast for the next two weeks even includes a couple of seventy degree days! Very exciting developments indeed.

Starting the garden has been keeping us busy. We’ve got Ring O Fire cayenne, Early jalapeno, Tabasco hot pepper, Emerald Falls dichondra, Red Rocket snapdragon, and an assortment of herbs planted already. I have been terrible at taking photos lately, so hopefully I can describe our seed starting station in a way that makes sense. I mounted a fluorescent light fixture underneath one of our kitchen cabinets. The light is plugged in to a programmable timer so that it comes on and off automatically so we don’t have to worry about it. Our seeds our planted in one of our windowsill greenhouses, with herbs in a smaller model. To elevate the planters under the light (since it’s not movable on a chain) I have two of my stacking baking racks set up underneath it, with the planters on top. This puts the seedlings at the perfect height. As they grow taller, I can remove one of the two racks so they’re got more vertical room to grow. I’m hoping that my seedlings will be robust and not leggy and lethargic this way.

And so far, so good. Most of the herbs have sprouted, as well as the dichondra. It’s so nice to see fresh green in the house! Next up to get in the ground in a week or so is the chard and Compatto dill. And we really need to figure out some more planters, because as usual, I cannot stick to a list and end up planting at my whim as soon as I get my hands in some dirt. And the best part is, my husband is really interested again this season and Baby Apartment Farmer is soaking up all the goodness. He gets really excited every morning when we check the planters to see what’s sprouted. Got to start them early on the good stuff!

In existing plants, I think I mentioned awhile back that we lost both of the big, beautiful thyme plants. Sigh. I finally got around to clearing out the last pot the other day. But the oregano made it through, and actually seemed to thrive on borderline neglect. And the bay tree is putting out new spring growth like I’ve never seen it do before – it’s actually branching out at the top! It’s gotten so big that we’ve got to find a half barrel sized planter to put it in… now where will I find something suitable? And where on earth am I going to put the poor thing in the cooler months when it has to live indoors? It’s outgrowing it’s spot in the windowsill for sure. But we have all spring and summer to figure that one out.

So, busy busy at planting time. Good things the days are getting warmer and longer!