Sowing and Socks (But not sewing socks)

Friday, March 23, 2012
I fell asleep last night to the pitter-pat of rainfall on the roof. While I'm no fan of sleeping through thunderstorms, I think the sound of a gentle rain is one of the loveliest sounds there is, a sweet, happy tinkling herald of spring and regrowth.

I always welcome a good rainy day, but we're especially grateful for rainfall this spring. After a low snow year, we need plenty of moisture to help the woods green up and to keep the forest fire danger down.
After last night's rainfall, the ice in the bay looks like it's seriously thinking about shipping out for the season. The ice is already out on some of the larger lakes up here, making it the earliest ice out up here ever. We're beating the prior earliest ice out dates by nearly three weeks. Yowzers!

The rain inspired more action outside today. I found a trio of sprouts out and about the yard this afternoon:

From left to right: lettuce sprouting in the cold frame, the first rhubarb nubs poking up (please let these be productive this year; otherwise I will have to barter homemade jam for rhubarb - I can't go two springs without it!), and garlic shoots. Last year, none of these guys were poking up until the end of April.

While Mother Nature is getting way ahead of herself this year, I'm planning to stay right on schedule with my seed starting schedule. I figure if I start things way ahead of time just because right now it feels like the end of May, we'll probably end up with a series of killing frosts when it actually is the end of May. (Hey, I never said I was an optimist.)

I'm not getting any more adventurous with this warm weather than starting a pot of lettuce in the cold frame because, frankly, I'm not terribly attached to the lettuce. Sure, it would be swell to have a fresh lettuce salad in the middle of April, but I'm not going to be too heartbroken if my little lettuce sprouts succumb to some unforeseen disaster in the next few weeks. Since spinach likes cool weather so well, I may start some spinach too because, well, same thing, I don't care too much if it flops. 

For things I don't have such a laissez-faire attitude towards - i.e. my tomatoes, peppers, basil, etc -- I'll be keeping them inside until late April at the earliest. Better safe than sorry.

Last night the UPS man delivered the pack of seeding starting mix and the last seeds I needed for this season, so tomorrow I'll be clearing off the kitchen table, turning on weekend NPR, and getting the first set of seeds planted. I'm planning to stagger my planting a bit more this year so I don't have nine kohlrabi that all want to be eaten at the same time this summer.

Here's what's getting sown tomorrow:
  • Tomatoes (Early Girl, Brandywine, and Yellow Pear Cherry) 
  • Jalapenos 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Herbs (Parsley, Sweet Basil, Thai Basil)
  • Broccoli (first planting of three) 
  • Cabbage (first planting of three) 
  • Kohlrabi (first planting of three) 
I should start some flowers tomorrow too, but I honestly haven't put much thought into those.  All of our prime growing real estate (that is to say: sunny spots) in the backyard are devoted to veggies, so our flower beds tend to be rather sad and scraggly. In a twist of ultimate irony, I spent my pre-gardening days longing for a flower garden, but now devote most of my energy to vegetables while Andy, who initially wanted to grow vegetables, tends to the flowers. I will for sure start some nicotiana tomorrow because it smells so very lovely on summer evenings. As for the other flowers I'll start, who knows, eh.

Other weekend plans include finishing up this little sock's mate:
If you're looking closely, yes the top ribbing is a different color. I used little bits of leftover yarn for the ribbing to make this a true stash busting project. This is my first toe-up sock and I have to say, it was a revelation; no blasted kitchener stitch! That said, although I like the appearance of the toe much better than I do on my leg-down socks, I don't particularly like appearance of the heel when handled with increases instead of decreases. However, the fact that I have more control over how much yarn I use is great for when I have limited amounts of yarn at my disposal because I can stop knitting at any point on leg. That means things like this can't happen: 

Remember those frilly anklets I started back in January? Where I ran out of yarn halfway through the second sock? The yarn I need to finish up that forgotten little sock went on sale this week (you didn't think I'd pay full price for it, did you?) and with any luck, the yarn will arrive tomorrow.  Maybe this weekend will end with two new pairs of woolen socks. . . .

And to those of you (ahem, Mollie) who kindly suggested I just finish up the sock with orange yarn, I'm sorry to say that I am a wimpy, unadventurous knitter who ordered more matching turquoise yarn to finish the anklet. I am boring.

Have you started seeds for the season? What are your weekend plans?


  1. Wow, Ada, knitting your own socks?! This is something I've often thought of doing as I wear socks around the house 9 months out of the year and would love to have some as soft and pretty as the ones you knit. Sigh. The perils of sloth.

    My husband is so ready to get the garden going but we had snow this week so it won't be anytime soon. He'll just keep looking at seed catalogs!

  2. Oh I wish I could knit like that. Really wish!
    Did you teach yourself or did someone show you?

  3. Love reading the news of your spring garden. I have spinach and lettuce growing in mine, but am afraid the warm weather will mean a very short time for lettuce here in Georgia. We were in the 80s for most of last week, although our typical last frost date is mid-april. We have two seasons in Ga - summer and not-summer.

  4. Garlic and rhubarb popping up? I'll have to go check mine!

    Mother Nature has been playing tricks on us with the current weather patterns. Eighty degrees for three straight days (ME) and today is a cloudy 55. It's hard to know what the weather will be like in a week or two. You're probably wise to stick with your planting schedule. Less disappointment that way.

    Regardless, spring chores are underway. This morning, my siblings and I met at the farm to prune the raspberries. This afternoon, I will transplant the hoop house tomatoes to 3" pots, start some more peppers and herbs. On way or another Spring will arrive.

    PS. great looking socks. Wish I could sit still long enough to knit some!

  5. I am boring also. I would not want to finish such great socks in a different color.
    Even with orange being my absolute favorite!

  6. I'm not growing anything but I'm definitely enjoying seeing things pop up after a few days of rain! I love it!

  7. I'm also sticking to a regular planting schedule despite the unseasonably warm temps for the very same reason. I refuse to have my tomatoes killed! Refuse, I tell you!

  8. Ptuh! Now I will not ask you to give or sell me such boring brilliantly hued socks!

    The nerve!

    All things considered, you are pretty damn badass for crocheting socks. You, you are on my team when the zombie apocalypse begins. I have plans.

  9. Wow, those socks are gorgeous! Good luck with your planting, hope the lettuce makes it through!

  10. I'm also very excited about sowing stuff! Here it's also safest to not sow anything outside until May, or even worse :(. I never take out the basil though, too risky.. but other herbs are fine, I can recommend dill and coriander, and parsley. They seem to stand everything!
    Lovely socks!

  11. I am so jealous!! We finally had some rain and my Japanese Maple actually has leaves on it so things are looking up. I'm anxiously waiting the arrival of my hydrangeas :)

  12. That is a gorgeous sock! Love it! :)

    Hearing the rain on the roof always makes me feel safe and secure (and very, very grateful to be warm and sheltered).

  13. Rain on the roof is so gentle and relaxing, I enjoy it too. Your sock is lovely and happy planting.

  14. Ditto the other comments on the socks. Beautiful and I'd be boring also and choose one color.

    As for the planting, I'v seeded spinach and moved the rhubarb which has failed, FOR THREE YEARS, to thrive after I transplanted it to my yard from the farm.


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