Are you a gambler?

Despite the warm weekend, we are still experiencing showers, wind and seemingly cool temperatures.  Although it is not particularly warm during the day, it is not frosting at night.  Normally at this time of year, when it is overcast it is mild at night but when it is sunny during the day we get a frost at night.  Our average date of last frost is April 21st.  The latest recorded frost is May 11.  When I first began gardening the average date of last frost was April 15th.  I remember a frost being on May 11th.  I think it was in the last 5 years.

So are you a gambler?  The old wives’ tale in the area is you don’t plant your vegetable garden until the snow if off Mary’s Peak.  I’ve also heard that you should wait to plant tomatoes until seedlings from last year’s fruit volunteer in your yard.   Normally, I wait until May 10-15th to plant my tomatoes, beans and corn outside.  Squash is another matter, needing soil warmth to prevent the plants from simply keeling over.  However, I often go by my gut.  And this year my gut is telling me that we are not going to have another frost.  I am seriously thinking about planting all my vegetable crops this weekend.  Now granted, if we do get a frost and we have to replant, I am in a better position than most people.  So am I daring you?  No.  Prudence suggests that you wait until May 10-15th.  But if you are a gambler and you have spring fever…I dare you!

What’s happening at the nursery?  Our tables are filling up.  We have Black and Blue Salvia and French Tarragon.  We are anticipating at least 60 varieties of tomatoes.  We hope to have 45 by this weekend.  We are bringing in everything as it becomes available.  For some reason it seems that plants are not on the availability list exactly when the customers start asking for them.  But keep on asking.  We will get them as soon as we are able and we would love to get your phone number and notify you when they arrive.  Our tomato list is available.  Don’t see your favorite variety there?  Let us know and we will try to track it down for you!

A funny aside.  I ran out of praying mantis egg cases.  People were wanting to buy them and I couldn’t find any.  Our inventory indicated we should still have 2.  But I could not find them.  So I listed them as missing.  A few days ago, we began to encounter baby praying mantis in our office.  This morning, a staff member discovered the two missing egg cases with an alarming number of hatching praying mantis.  I do not know how this happened but it is a wonder and something worth talking about.  Praying mantis are amazing and they love to eat other insects that destroy crops, a very worthy proposition.  Thank goodness we have now moved the egg cases out of the office somewhere that the emerging hatchlings can do the most good.   And a story may be told!

Anything else?  We are excited that people seem to be redoing their landscapes.  There is a definite increase from last year.  Also, we welcome the trend we are seeing in edible gardens.  It is great to grow your own food and be in control of what goes into it.  Also, we are surprised and happy at how many of our customers have embraced the GreenBed raised beds.  They are made by Shelter Works in Philomath from recycled materials.  A great company with a great plan. Check it out at  We’re completely enamored.

About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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