The long, cold, dark days of winter are gone. The warm days of spring are here. Actually, winter only last about 10 days, which is typical in Phoenix. Today it will be around 80; that, in and of itself, makes it hard to fathom most of the northern parts of the country are actually still in winter. The seed and set orders I place a few weeks ago have mostly arrived.
It is hard to believe I have already started seeds for summer. It seems like we just stopped harvesting everything from last summer. Because I only have limited space to start plants I have to stagger when I initially start the seeds. So far I have planted the various sweet peppers – a shishito, the carmen, and cupid, and an eggplant variety. The eggplant was a last-minute addition after great success making a capanota. None of these should get too large to transport up to the garden in May and I can move them outside for a few months until then after they get large enough to handle large intra-day temperature swings and not be as susceptible to predation. I have a number of hot peppers already outside.
The hot pepper plants I have been over-wintering are mostly doing well. A few are blossoming, which is an occurrence I will likely have to put a stop to soon. I think I am only waiting on one tomato seed packet to arrive, then everything I ordered will be here. Because of issues with grafting last year, mainly getting the various plants a similar size at the same time, I decided not to graft any tomatoes this year. I did branch out into a few hybrid tomato varieties to, hopefully, help production. As a non-conscience part of that decision, two of the varieties are determinant tomato varieties, meaning they grow to a certain size, then produce a batch of fruit. I am also reducing the number of cherry tomato varieties. They grew entirely too tall last year. Another reason for a partial switch to determinant varieties.
One of the crops we had great success with last year was onions. We grew the onions from sets – little onion plants, instead of seeds. We have three varieties of onion sets to plant. We have a sweet Texas, an early Texas, and a red onion. We also have a set of leeks we are excited about. Although they arrived a month earlier than expected, they are doing well. Two helpers are coming down next month so we will be able to plant the onions, leeks, and the kale I have started. I also ordered a large variety of flowers for containers this summer. Some will be edible so they will add nice color and flavor to dishes this summer and fall.
Last year I planted a fig tree cutting in a container at my house. A few weeks ago I took two cutting from that tree to start two more trees. They seem to be doing very well. One of the cuttings has opened little leaves and the other looks close. This success is in contrast to multiple cuttings I have taken to try to clone the ghost pepper. None of those have survived to date, even though I have tried starting them in water and in a loose seed starting soil mixture.
Well, I’m back and things are launched for 2015.