First Planting of 2013

Yesterday was another 50 degree January afternoon — we've had several sprinkled among days of snow and days of bitter cold. It was very windy, but we had some melting, and it made me get out to sow the first seeds of 2013:

These are the angelica seeds that I got last fall at Strawbery Banke. While planning out the 2013 garden (more on that later), I did some reading on growing angelica, and I found out that the seeds are short-lived and have poor germination rates, so it's best to plant them immediately in the fall.


The good news is that the alternative is to keep seeds in the fridge or freezer before sowing in the spring. Since we keep all of our seeds in a box in the fridge — they last much, much longer that way! — I inadvertently did this correctly. Still, having read about their tricky germination needs (much like parsnips, which they are related to and look just like), I decided to get them in the ground yesterday, while the getting was good. 

That is, while the ground was moist and not frozen, and before our upcoming week of single digit nights and day time highs below freezing, and before tonight's potential for 6-8 inches of snow.

Although planting seeds in January is highly unorthodox, I figured that since they so quickly lose viability, I don't really have much to lose here. They'll continue the cold cycle of real winter that was started in the fridge, and be able to settled in place and germinate (hopefully!) naturally in the spring. And if it doesn't work, we're no worse off — angelica is an old-fashioned herb that will be cool to try, but hardly a staple in our pantry. 

Angelica seems to like semi-shaded, damp places. Also, angelica is enormous — potentially 6-8 feet tall when blooming (!!). Because of that height, it is suggested to plant it in a place sheltered from the wind (ha ha ha). I did my best, choosing a shady spot along the garage, between stands of comfrey (in the photo above). I also place a few on on the corner of the workshop, in front of the electric lines:

Finally, I saved a few for the cutting garden, which is quite nicely sheltered from the wind:

Of course, yesterday we had 45 mph gusts, so a few seeds blew away in said wind. 

I just tamped them down into the damp soil and covered them ever-so-slightly, since they require light to germinate. By this time tomorrow, they should be snowed in place, and we'll see in the spring if this mid-winter planting scheme worked or not. 


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