invasion of the veggie-snatchers: february garden update

by Stacy

Isn’t it strange to have an actual garden update in February? Bizarre. But according to the current survey results, possibly from snow-bound readers, there is actual demand for garden posts. Vicarious? Maybe, but I will oblige.

Yesterday I made a quick trip to the garden center. Normally I wouldn’t run errands on a Saturday since I can avoid it, but after it rained all morning and my husband was at work at all day, the sunny afternoon lured me outside.

I came home with a few gems:

saturday seeds

Well, future gems. I realize that it’s not a huge pile, but I am limited to a patio and the pots I can fit in the sun! They’re all either heirloom or organic. I anticipate getting tomatoes from the CSA as well, so the combination should let me try to preserve a few.

We did buy a small bunch of cilantro a while back, but cilantro bolts (starts flowering, going to seed, then dying) quickly. The seeds are to sew new batches throughout the season to provide a continuous source of the herb. We sometimes get cilantro from the CSA, too, but that just means more salsa, right?

It’s still weird to me that I have had plants on my balcony all winter. Er, “winter.” Wanna see? Of course you do.

Here is the newest patio resident:

valentine tulip

This lovely tulip was a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband. We weren’t doing gifts, but he was having trouble resisting. I said he could buy me flowers so long as it was a plant and not a cut bouquet. I need to re-pot them, but saving them from the cats was the first priority.

lettuce mix arugula sprouts

My greens were sprouted from seed in the fall and have been making slow progress. On the left is a lettuce mix, on the right is an arugula sprout that has been languishing at that size for a while. Both are seed packets from Botanical Interests, just like the tomato seeds.

I’m pretty proud of this one:

italian flat leaf parsley

Italian flat-leaf parsley is supposed to be notoriously difficult to start from seed, but I didn’t read that until after I sprouted it. It has survived so far and has had a nice growth spurt lately. The basil I planted at the same time is still alive, but tiny. We’ll see…


This mint has to have its own pot (it’s very invasive and will take over your other herbs/veggies/yard if allowed), so it currently resides in a 64-ounce yogurt tub. I trimmed it back a bit and it’s looking pretty good.


Above is my lacinato kale, also started from Botanical Interests seeds . I started them in medium yogurt containers then transplanted them into the pot in mid-January. They’re loving this cool weather.

I also have two small basil plants and some French tarragon that aren’t huge, but they’re there.

What makes me both the most excited and the most dismayed, though, is this:


Oh, hello little lime. You keep on keepin’ on. There are more, too.


baby limes

What’s that? Something is eating my plants!?!?


More?!? They’re in the cilantro, too?

I hate aphiiiiiiiids! *shakes fist at sky*

They’ve also gotten to the fennel bulb I grew from seed, and even the kale pictured above (see the yellowing on them?).


It’s particularly annoying because they came home on the gorgeous hibiscus I bought a few months ago. The hibiscus was so covered in them that sprays were ineffective, I finally had to snip off all the blooms and buds (the aphids feed on tender new growth), but they managed to spread to the lime tree and now the vegetables.

Yesterday, along with the seeds, I bought something else, a new weapon in the war against aphids. We tried simple homemade sprays, then tried an organic pesticide to no avail. It was time to call in the cavalry.


Hopefully the aphid buffet will prove tasty enough to entice these bad boys to hang around for a while. That and the mesh bags currently enclosing the ladybugs with the infested plants. There are a lot of them, enough that I had to recruit my husband into releasing them. The beetle-y mass creeped me out a bit. The worms I can handle. That many legs? Ugh, no thanks.

Last month we did try to attract some beneficial bugs by luring them in with some flowers. We bought a few small flats of annuals and put them in pots. I’m not sure if they attracted any bugs, but at least they’re pretty.

winter annuals

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly February 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Gardening would be so much easier without pests.


stacy February 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Indeed. The 23-floor climb in MN seemed to be a good deterrent. Not so much here.


WhiteStone February 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Those Dratted Pesks!
Your post reminds me that it is time to bring my potted geraniuims up from the basement where they have resided since October. They’re all dried up now, but if I set them in the light in the kitchen (we’re in Iowa!), by last frost they will be ready to set out on the deck. Thanks for the reminder. And, hey! Hope the lady bugs do their work well!


stacy February 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Thanks, I have high hopes!


Erika February 21, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Your post is giving me vicarious gardening pangs. *sigh* :)


stacy February 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm

It’s ok, your pictures give me baby-squeezing pangs. Please pencil in some squishing time for me in March! Thanks!


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