Hello spring. Goodbye fall. Winter? Naw, don’t think we’ll have that this year.
It’s been ages since I have posted here. Life got fairly hectic around August of last year and didn’t really let up. Meanwhile it was far too hot to want to garden back then, and then I sort of missed my start date for cool weather gardening, and ultimately decided it would be less stressful to wait a while.
March 1 is typically the start date for our spring gardens here in Florida, when the last risk of frost is passed. But it’s been in the 80’s nearly daily since the middle of January, and all the perennials believe it’s spring (azaelas blooming in January and early February feels so very wrong!) and I frankly doubt that we’re going to see much winter between now and the end of the month, so I hope to start planting sooner. Perhaps this weekend.
I ordered seeds yesterday for several tasty vegetables, and I have a few seeds I’d saved over from last year. The beds are all prepared already (one nice thing about this long break is that the newest load of manure and mulch, laid down about 3 months ago, has had plenty of time to age and become wonderful). So I get to start right off with the fun stuff – setting in seeds, watering, watching daily for the first signs of life.
In the meantime, I learned this week that the USDA released a new garden hardiness zone map recently. It seems a rather appropriate discovery, in this warm winter. Tampa used to sit right on the border of 9A and 9B; the areas closest to the Bay trending more warmly than the areas further inland (like Temple Terrace). But now the border has shifted northward again, and we are squarely in 9B. It’s certainly true to my own experience gardening in recent years. The winters, overall, aren’t as cold as I remember them in my childhood (and they weren’t terribly cold then, either). This winter has been particularly warm. We’ve had, I think, less than a full week without needing the air conditioning.
But for now, here’s a link to the new map. Go see how things have changed in your area! And expect some spring garden updates, and photos, from me soon.