01 May 2008


During football games at the Ohio State University, the marching band will play "Hang on Sloopy" and the crowd will chant the state's letters during the chorus...which herre, sounds completely ridiculous when I type that out. I guess you'd have to hear it to understand, if you've never heard it, but it goes something like this

Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on
Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy, hang on

and wow, it looks even sillier with the words typed out.

(If that's not enough of a visual for you, check out the YouTube version, and you will see what insane nutcases most of the state of Ohio's residents are; there's a dance that goes along with that o-h-i-o chant.)

It has been running though my head this week (and now it will be running though YOUR head, too, you're welcome) as Ohio residents have been treated to typically heartbreaking early spring Ohio weather. Yes, end of April/beginning of May counts as early spring here. March is still winter, any way you care to look at it.

I've planted some seeds in yet another (probably vain) attempt to grow some vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I was not smart enough to plant them inside the house during the month of February as any gardener worth her salt in Ohio would have done. Expert gardener I am most assuredly NOT. No, no, instead I planted them outside on my side porch a few weekends ago, and have kept very close daily tabs on them, watching most anxiously for seedlings to appear.

Seedlings astonishingly have appeared, often in between my checking them each morning and returning from work to check them again each evening. It is beyond cool to see those little tiny things sprout. I think of everything I planted, I'm most enjoying watching the sunflowers. Because they pop out of the ground with the seed casing still attached, shedding it when the leaves begin to grow, and if it isn't the most obvious 'hey, this plant came from THAT seed' example I've ever seen, then I don't know what I would put in that category.

I even have proof!

Aren't they cute? Just so tiny, it is hard to believe that will turn in to a huge and very unusual colored sunflower. The name on the seed packet was "Chianti Hybrid" and I chose them out of all the other sunflowers (and I lurves me some sunflowers) because I've never seen any this color before, a deep burgundy wine-y sort of color. There were somewhere around 24 seeds in the packet, and they've all sprouted. Of course, that's too many for the spot I alloted to the sunflowers, so I'll have a few left over. I've got some ideas about where to stash them, but I'll probably write about that at some future point, when I am able to put the plants in the ground.

Then there's the salad mix; mesclun greens that are of a very mixed variety, and there were thousands of seeds in that packet. So many that after harvesting the first batch, I have enough to have a second crop of them. I like my mixed greens as baby greens, so they won't be in the ground long once they are planted. They need to be a bit bigger before I can do that, though.

And the happy little daisies. I choose painted daisies because they're all kinds of colors. I love shasta daises, but they're only white. These are a full spectrum of colors.

So I planted these all several weeks ago, and then...what happens? It gets cold again. We go from 70 degree days (21C) to a frost advisory for two nights in a row. The novice gardener could lose absolutely every-freaking-thing. The first night, I covered all the baby seedlings with a huge sheet, folded in half, that has been banned from my bed for having holes in it. (I guess it didn't like being washed in hot water with a lot of bleach....all of my bed linens are white, and I use bleach to kill the dust mites and other creepy-crawlies that are in EVERYONE'S bed.) The sheet protected the seedlings, even when it got wet from a typical spring heavy rain.

The next night, though, the temp was supposed to dip down even further, and as I've never managed to keep anything alive for an entire growing season, I was very worried that a sheet just wasn't going to cut it when it came to frost protection.

Not long after I planted everything, I broke the seed trays down into little individual 4-packs, because I am a complete moron. Had I left them in their original state, they would be far easier to move, but nooooo, I thought the little 4-packs were easier to handle and cute. *headdesk*

When the bitter cold weather threatened, my choices for saving the seedlings were pretty limited. I could 1) bring them inside the house or 2) take them into the garage. Bringing them in the house would mean that any little 6 or 8-legged things that had attached themselves to the plastic trays would be sharing my home. I hate bugs. Anything that has more legs than I do, I am not a fan. A huge amount of soil would be tracked through my house. Not that I'd mind cleaning it up, but it was also raining when I was doing this, and there's a good chance I would have ruined the wooden floor that DH put into the house last year as I tracked in water, the clay-like muddy soil we have in the ground and the potting soil I purchased, because of course there's potting soil spilled on the side patio, where the seedlings live.

Garage it was. Thirty trips or so later, the seedlings were lined up in a spot in the garage where they wouldn't be stepped on (or run over with the cars) and where they'd stay warm. They survived the night unscathed. (Big sigh of relief.) Score one for the girl without the green thumbs.

Then it was time to move them back outside.

Those little white sticks that identify the seedlings, because you need them until the plants are large enough to identify? I don't have one of those in every single 4-pack of plants. Which means what? The ones that haven't sprouted yet are unidentifiable if they get separated from their fellows. Of course I have them lined up in neat little rows, with the markers at the beginning and ending of each section of plants, but what happens if they get out of their orderly little rows? I'd be guessing what was in each one.

Not a disaster, unless you have OCD.

If you have OCD, then your NICE NEAT PLAN is messed up if one goes stray and it makes you want to CURL UP IN THE CORNER AND POUT.

Not that I'd know. Really.

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