Monday, April 27, 2009

Planting Season!

Image of "mini melons" and write up courtesy of Amanda

Toronto is classified "zone 5a". This means no annuals sown before May, and perrenials must be equal to the challenge of -25C. Ouch. Like my oat-grass and climbing roses, I'm small, reedy, and none too excited about October darkness or April frost. But, this week, I stopped hunching my shoulders and sent out feelers, testing for warm currents drifting below the chill.

Two summers ago, I inherited a peony bush from a friend. His grandfather planted it sixty years ago, and it has since been divided in three, one cutting to each of his daughters. When my friend's mother moved house and gave up her garden, the peonies took up residence in the clawfoot bathtub on my balcony. I've yet to see the blooms first-hand--the first summer, the plant was miffed at the soil change and withheld its flowers. Last year they were glorious...while I was in Brooklyn. I returned home to one brown and drooping blossom and a litter of mushy petals. Yesterday, I noticed three dark-red stems poking above the dirt, and cross fingers that this year, the flowers and I will enjoy a few warm evenings together.

This weekend, the forecast is perfect: hot and clear today, rainy overnight, sunny and blazing tomorrow, then a moderate Sunday. Ok, not quite "perfect" for people who want to bask like lizards and scorch their winter-pale arms, but just the thing for fledgling sprouts. Not one to do things halfway, I've thrown open my windows, declared Kneesock Season open, tuned up my bicycle and zipped to the office in a lovely scarf, A-line skirt and red high heels. I intend to cut a dashing profile as I ride home this evening with my basket crammed with seedlings, a bottle of tempranillo, a good book and a bag of planting soil.

This year's crop:
basil (three kinds)
heirloom cherry tomatoes
catgrass (for my sweet kitten, Birdie, to nibble)

...and mint, segregated in a pot to itself, to prevent it from choking its neighbours. Have you seen the roots on that thing?! Good grief! I had to brace myself with one boot against the planter when I tore up last year's spearmint.

And you? What are you planting this spring?


  1. On the windowsill there is lavendar, thyme, a decorative kale (probably not a comestible), and orange mint. They have already come under attack by overly enthusiastic birds looking for nest building materials. I may have to resort to the suspended CD trick to scare them off.

  2. Uncomestible kale--that sounds like something from Home Ec!

    The suspended CD trick...eureka! You know, I never understood why all the little old Portuguese men in my 'hood whose yards are nothing but garden also hang strings of CDs from side to side. I figured, frankly, it was some sort of superstition or wind chime or other useless feature.

    It all makes so much sense now!