2017 Harvest

Thursday, May 12, 2016

To transplant or not to transplant that is the question :)

Every end of April starts the well known seedling planting fever.
 As soon as farmers and stores place their first seedling on sale people start showing the well known "intense gardener" disease. They walk around proudly with their seedlings in the bags, they announce everyone that they will soon start planting  and as soon as they finish the whole village needs to know how they planted everything.  

After the intense gardener disease we're faced with "judgemental gardener disease" which can be recognized by two biggest symptoms: First the "Did you plant your seedling?" instead of Hello symptom and the judgemental terror in the eyes of the infected person if the answer to their question is no.

Each year this diseases affect more and more people and lately I witness people that used to plant seedlings the same days as me now giving me the judgemental look when I say I didn't plant my seedlings. The disgusted looks sometimes rock my gardening believes and I start questioning am I doing things wrong or are the intense gardeners so blinded by their disease that they don't see they are doing things wrong.

I've always planted my seedlings the way my grandma used to plant them. She always said that seedlings can be planted only after the pass of Ice Saints.
Ice Saints or Black thorn winter as some countries call them are dates from May 11th until May 15th in which there is still high chance of frost. Frost can hit 2 or 3 days after that date but May 15th day of St. Sophia ("Cold Sophia") is the time of the year when cold air stops getting through and nights start getting warmer with temperatures over 10°C.
Even if there is no frost Ice Saints always bring very rainy and wet weather so in early days it was considered that every frost sensitive vegetable should be planted after this date.

When looking at the period from 2010 to 2015 May had frost days in 2011, 2012 and 2014 while 2015 had rain for almost 2 weeks.
Knowing all this I can't help but to be surprised how people ignore this facts and still plant their seedlings before St. Sophia.

This year we our temperatures are over 10°C in the morning and many gardeners planted their seedlings outside past week.
I was in a huge dilemma. I thought about planting but I had that little bird inside my head pecking on my brain and saying not to plant. So after debating with my family and inspecting my seedlings I decided not to transplant them. I decided I will ways another 10 days until transplanting them outside.

All of my seedlings are still completely healthy, they aren't leggy anymore. They have their dark green colour which means the soil they're in is still feeding them well and I decided not to plant.

chily peppers

They will be waiting in their new home aka my front yard few more days.

Watermelons, Amaranth and Zucchinis are also still waiting, I'm keeping them covered with textile so they aren't exposed to too bright sun or rain,

The only thing that was transplanted was my Ipomea which couldn't wait anymore, It started climbing everywhere and it needed support. But still it got a cover textile to protect it and the bucket is located under the roof so there shouldn't be any problems with it.

Ipomea in the back, gladioli bulbs in the middle and Nicotiana in the front
 Did I make the right decision with leaving my seedlings in their containers?

The weather report for this week is: Rain until Monday with chances of snow in hills, cold Monday and then showers Tuesday and Wednesday.

So I guess this year Ice Saints didn't bring ice but lots of rain. Rain that is also a problem for seedlings and most likely will bring blight and other diseases.

Sometimes waiting really is the best thing.


  1. Everyone here does the same thing---a mad rush to get things in. But I know we've ALWAYS had a frost June 4th. Always.
    So I wait. And then wait some more. Last year it was June 17. I'd LOVE to plant something, but no.
    Your seedlings look amazing--very healthy.

  2. Beautiful seedlings!
    In my home, Maine, USA, the saying is to not plant before Memorial day (observed [not 'celebrated'] on the last Monday of the month of May). That weekend, being a 3 day weekend, there is a similar disease and mad rush. People will plant everything, all at once during that weekend. It is definitely a safe time to plant to avoid frost. However, many things can be planted before that time... Peas, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radish.... but the trend is to lump it in at once. Right now i am late on all of those. By July their beets have bolted, their lettuce has shot and they are tired of weeding. (So am i!)
    For me, the big victory is to get 99% of my plants from seed, not grown by someplace else.

    Now that i have met that goal, my next is to properly save my own seeds.

    Anyhow, i have been keeping an eye on the details of my area. It seems to be safe to start planting frost hardy stuff now but not to leave seedlings that need hardening-off out on their own at night. I was bitten by the Three Chilly Saints a few years back and i watch those days closely now!

    I'm trying some new things this year (yet again) to see if i can accomplish some things, season extenders and weed suppression.... Time will tell.
    My Grandfather was a savvy old gardener and he always pushed the limits to see what he could get away with. I learned a lot from him and try to push my luck as well.

    But i'm not putting my tomatoes in until at least May 25!

  3. Healthy seedling! You makes me so jealous, mine have chewed by snails


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