Nurturing Patience in Winter Warmth
by Sheri McGregor
I’ve learned from experience that in inland San Diego County in my Zone 9 garden, planting seeds in the days-long stretches of warm 75 – 80 degree February mean planning for late season frosts. Two weeks ago, it looked like spring had arrived. In years past, the sultry weather has gotten the better of me, and vegetables I imagined harvesting so early often didn’t live. The plants wilted in late season frosts the balmy weather in winter had fooled me into believing weren’t t possible. Sometimes, to save them, I’ve had to protect plants from frost. This year, I’ve been patient. Rather than worry about spring vegetable seedlings planted early, I’ve held off, and nurtured patience.
The only thing coming up in the garden are some tiny sunflower seedlings I’ve read that new seedlings can withstand a light frost, so as the weather people predict cool temps tonight, I’m hoping for the best.
Safely indoors, my tomato seedlings have sprouted in peat pellets in tomato greenhouses. They’re just sprouting their second set of leaves. After a brief “hardening” period during which they will spend days outdoors then be brought in at night, the tiny tomato plants should be sturdy enough to plant in the garden. The jiffy peat pots can go directly into the soil, which means no disturbing the roots.
As winter comes to a close, I’m nurturing patience. In our busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in rushing from one thing to the next. We barely leave a minute between one activity and the next. This only adds to our stress. If one thing goes long, a domino effect has you rushing even more. The seasons hold a lesson about leaving room to stretch, and nurturing patience.
Amid the warm days of late winter in my zone 9 garden, I’ve relished the hustle and bustle of early-start birds all aflutter as they built early nests. But the winter wind and rain the last two days has all but obliterated their work. The longer daylight hours, the new leaves sprouting from barren tree limbs, and the golden rays of sunlight all promise summer’s abundance, but this year, I’m waiting. I’m nurturing patience.