Resisting temptation: Still too early to plant much.

Spring seems finally to be here. I’m in the midst of a series of days in the mid-70s to low 80s (23-27C), and curbing the desire to plant every seedling I’ve got takes a lot out of me. But experience has taught me well. There is a reason our average last frost date is in mid-April. As always, gardening means exercising patience.

forsythia sprayTrays of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers sit in the cold frame, waiting to stretch out in their new homes. Yogurt cups of verbena, primulas, salvias, and hollyhocks fill the floor of my office closet, stretching up to the glow of the fluorescent shop lights that have nursed them so far. A heat mat coddles ground cherries and jalapeños. Nicotianas in their half milk carton promise cottage charm, but not for some weeks yet.

If you garden in Zone 7b or 8a, as I do, planting time is close, but not here yet. Spend these lovely, warm, lengthening days preparing your garden beds, digging in compost, and pulling annual weeds like three-seeded mercury before they reproduce. Those weeds will compete with your vegetables and flowers for nutrients, and they didn’t get to be the resilient types they are without being efficient competitors.

It’s hard. Believe me, I know. For me, waiting for the spring planting date to pass is like my kids waiting for Christmas. It seems it will never get here. But it will.