Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fun in the North Dakota Winter

So who ever said that a North Dakota winter can be boring?  This is a picture of what Barry and I spent some of our Saturday doing.  The weather, even though the weather reporters were talking of another doozy of a blizzard, was actually perfect.  We had about 3 inches of very wet snow that came down slowly and silently blanketing everything in the most perfect white followed by a balmy 32 degrees, and no wind!  What a time to head outside and enjoy the wonder of snow.  There is no age limit on making snowmen right?

The other thing I was able to do was get a handle on my reading.  The stack of magazines and newspapers has slowly risen to mammoth proportions so I spent Saturday morning, while Barry was running mail and moving snow, catching up on the reading pile and wrangling it down to just three issues of Farmers Market Today. 

While reading through the mags I found an article about ordering seed.  The article, in Growing For Market magazine, talked about storing seed, inventorying seed, ordering seed and keeping records.  In it, the writer gave a list of common seeds and how long they can or should be stored.  The article cited Parsley as a use it one year and then toss the rest - not viable after the first year.  Since I knew that we had just completed our own seed inventory and our Parsley seed was several years old the writers opinion surprised and scared me.  We have successfully planted Parsley seed that was two and even three years old.  However, facing the possibility that this could be the last year for our 2006 seed, I did  put together a germination test.  Parsley takes a LONG time to germinate.  We direct seed into the field as early as we can each year with the Parsley being the first in the ground of our herbs.  We've also planted it in the fall just to avoid problems with wet springs where we can't get in early to seed.  To do a germination test you can wrap some of your seed in a moist paper towl and put them in a plastic bag in a location that is about the same as the ground or outdoor temperture will be.  Check them daily - not only to add water if they need it but also to get some air exchange in the bag.  Keep checking for small roots on the seeds or signs that they have sprouted.  If none sprout, get new seed.  If half sprout, you'll either have to overseed or get new seed.  If all or most of them sprout you are most likely OK to put them in the ground.  It's always a good idea to run a germination test on older seed.  It's so much better to know than to worry once spring arrives and then possibly have to send in an emergency order for more seed after you have lost valuable growing time. 

For now - I'm just watching my little babies and hoping they sprout.  If not, I'll just add Parsley to the seed order and things will all be on time come April.

Hope you are enjoying the snow the way Barry and I are - stay safe and be patient.  Spring is coming!

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