A frigid blast of winter is rolling across the Northern States and we got our share this morning. The car thermometer saw a 9F (-12.5C) during the ride to work, and it feels more like early February rather than the week before Thanksgiving. Strangely enough I’m somewhat prepared, and after a weekend of digging bulbs and clearing the garage I’m now able to shelter inside sorting and cleaning seeds rather than risking frostbite outside.
My seed cleaning is not an exact process. Sifting, blowing, shaking, and picking all work to separate out the bits and pieces mixed in with the seed and I really don’t mind the job at all. There are just two new things I learned this year. The first is that castor bean seeds look disgustingly like obesely engorged dog ticks, and the second is that when cleaning ornamental pepper seeds don’t touch your eyes, mouth, nose or even inhale too close to the things. Also don’t do all the above even after you’ve washed your hands a few times. In fact don’t even take a shower, your hands are still dangerous and you may burn in all the areas your health teacher told you shouldn’t ever burn….
The hot pepper effect eventually wears off and you’re back to freezing. With the harshness of this cold snap I’m glad I snuck out last Friday and dug up my fall blooming snowdrop before it was annihilated by freezer burn. I have my fingers crossed it will be better off indoors, but looking back at my track record with watering I’m not 100% sure this will be the case. It seems to have done well enough last winter though. In addition to sending up a bloom this fall, it’s splitting in two and has an offset coming up the side. Sure beats my previous diagnosis of dead.
With the cold settled in and the ground freezing up a more sensible person would snuggle on in and start the long winter break from gardening, but I guess I’m not as sensible as I like to think. Fall bulb clearance sales are starting and they’re soooooo tempting. So what if I ended up planting over 200 bulbs in pots last winter after not getting things planted outside in time? I’m sure this winter things will work out differently 🙂