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As any experienced gardeners knows, gardening is partly about looking ahead: two weeks, or fifty years. Traditionally the planting-out time around here (for most things) starts in late May (spring frost date is middle of May). For really tender things (cucurbits and tropicals), planting out is better done in June. Starting plants/seedlings indoors is a fairly important component to gardening in short-season areas, and this is where looking ahead comes in.

To put it another way, I started this year’s ginger (Zingiber officinalis) and turmeric (Cucurma longa) a few days ago. I find that in my house, it takes about six weeks to break them out of dormancy, and then another six weeks before they start to grow enough to poke out of the pot. Bear in mind that these are tropical species, and I keep the house at 19º C in winter. Assuming the timing works out, this should be just in time to put them outside in June, with a minimum fuss of hardening off.

I also started some Dauphin violet cuttings (Streptocarpus saxorum). I haven’t been growing this for very long, but cuttings last I took year took four months to flower. Since I would like these to be in bloom by the end of May, I may have waited too long.

Other than that, there is little gardening to talk about. The light garden system I cobbled together is working out wonderfully, and so far it has more than justified the effort I put into it. Now that it’s the past the middle of February, the days are noticeably longer, and it’s time to start sorting through the seeds.

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