Early is NOT always better…or the early bird does NOT always catch the worm.
Remember that panic tantrum I was throwing last month? The one that came on suddenly as we moved from winter to spring in a matter of days? No easy, slow build up. No gradual increase in temps. One day it was winter and the next spring. I had left for a quick trip during the winter and returned home to find it was spring. I had apparently stumbled into a time machine that only worked in fast forward. Well there were lessons to learn in that panic. (Why is that always the case?)
I’m a bit of a weather freak so checking the long-range forecast is a daily activity. As far as I could tell, we were out of any danger of freeze or frost. So what have I done? I have been planting like a mad woman. All of those seedlings that I started this winter have been going to their permanent home. I’ve lost count, but just yesterday I put 270-ish zinnia seedlings in the ground, so I know I’ve planted lots!
What have I learned? Two things. First of all, just because a freeze is not in the forecast doesn’t mean you should rush out and plant. Patience is the greatest lesson that Nature teaches us. While nearly all of the seedlings I have planted out are fine, only a very few have really stretched their roots and leaves and have grown. Why? Because there has been some very cool nights and days. The seedlings are just biding their time waiting to take off.
You can put a seedling in the soil, but you can’t make it grow! (Until it is ready.)
The second lesson I learned also includes patience and it goes like this…long range forecasts are not always correct. Yes, we had a freeze this last week. I had bravely (or stupidly) gone ahead and set out peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I covered these vulnerable, heat-loving plants but it was just too cold. My cucumbers bit the dust (or dirt). Luckily they are easy to start and new seeds will be put in the ground this week.
Sometimes you just have to start over!
So what is the real lesson? Don’t be in a hurry. Nature moves at its own pace and we should be more respectful and observant and move with her. It’s like the old traffic dilemma. Whether I leave the house early or wait until the traffic has cleared, I arrive at my destination at the same time. So should I plant early and sit and wait and worry? Or should I observe the wisdom of nature and plant on time? Either way about it, I will get my flowers and vegetables at the perfect time.