Floraison for the Third Week of March

The snowdrops are starting to blossom: yesterday I saw ones in full bloom, not just white buds tucked into the leaves.  I also saw the first crocus blossom of the year, a purple one, but it was still furled and will require a few more days like yesterday — over ten degrees and sunny — before it opens into the full goblet shape.  I prefer the smaller snow crocus to the later, more highly bred ones, partly because they come out so much earlier, partly because they often have more beautiful colours and markings. Lavender striped with purple, gold streaked with bronze, as well as yellow, purple, lavender, white.

Otherwise, the trees are starting to have fatter buds, the forsythia in warmer corners is probably going to start soon, and the later spring bulbs are starting to peek through the soil.  I saw the cabbage-rose buds of ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum at the base of the old plants, a sign of spring for me; the grass is still mostly brown, but starting to come green.

Inside, my tomato sprouts have the smallest hint of their first true leaves after the cotyledon. The lettuce has sprouted well up, the basil has just barely poked through the surface.  The pansies I planted at the same time as the tomatoes have started to sprout, encouraged, I think, by the plastic container I inverted over the pot to encourage a miniature greenhouse effect.  I bought another of the Jiffy plant starter sets (peat pellets, plastic base, clear plastic dome for the aforementioned greenhouse effect), and planted six peas and six pellets of spinach.  I’ve been getting the 12-pellet sized sets because they fit on my windowsills, one on each side of the latch, as well as because that way I’m not trying to deal with too many plants’ germination and growth rates at once.

I feel, actually, that I can recommend the Jiffy sets. The greenhouse effect seems to make a huge difference in germination; all of the plants were listed as having 7-14 day germination rates, but all except the pansies — which were not originally covered — sprouted within the first week, the lettuce within three days, and I seem to have had close to 100% germination as well.

I’m not sure what this will mean for potting them on; I may end up with a great many more indoor plants than I reckoned I would have to deal with.  Hopefully I will be able to keep them thriving until April, when I should be able to start hardening them off.  This weekend I think I will invest in some grow lights, since I don’t have enough direct light to keep them all growing healthily.

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