Planting Time

The narcissus on the south side of my house are 3-4 inches tall with buds showing. My mother from Michigan calls them daffodils. My mother-in-law (Tennessee born and raised) calls them jonquils. I know them as a sign of Spring.

Its a bit early to start tomatoes, peppers, and basil, but time for slow starters and cool season veggies. We have a short window for lettuce and cabbage family members before heat and humidity causes bitterness and bolting. So preparing seed trays, potting soil, and planting cabbage, lettuce, and strawberry seeds is my plan.

Strawberries are slow starters from seed. Two years ago, I grew Alpine strawberries for the first time. Their flavor is incredible. They produce from May through October in Chattanooga. The berries are tiny compared to ordinary strawberries, and are too soft to ship when ripe. They are almost exclusively available to gardeners who grow their own. Most Alpine strawberries are runnerless so aren’t as easily propagated as others. I found a variety that produces runners in the Baker Creek catalog this year so I may not be seeding strawberries next year.

The cabbage variety I’ll plant is Early Jersey Wakefield. Its an heirloom that produces a cone shaped head. Last year, I started seeds at the end of January, transplanted in March, harvested in June, and had slaw by 4th of July. Hoping to repeat this year.

The lettuce I’m using is Parris Island Cos. Its the green Romaine in the background photo. The red variety next to it is Annapolis. They made a nice pairing in the container. In the salad bowl there was also a contrast. Annapolis made Parris Island Cos taste sweet. A beautiful but rather bitter redhead was my experience with Annapolis. Flavor matters for me so I’m just planting Parris Island for this Spring.

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