Still Winter

Winter storm Titan threatens to blow in over the next few days, bringing sleet, ice, and more snow. Next week, the temperatures forecasted range from -5 to 38. Clearly, my plan to put kale and romaine out in cold frames on March 1 needs to change!

My ten plants have responded well to being babied with chamomile tea and fish emulsion. If they don’t go outside pretty soon, I’ll be transplanting them into bigger pots.


At least I have plants to transplant. As for my third try at broccoli seed starting, nothing has germinated. I know the seeds are viable. I am misting with chamomile. The trays are not under direct light. I have a Plan B, though. I have about 30 seeds rolled in wet paper towels, in a baggie, in a warm place. I’ll check them tomorrow to see if these have germinated. If yes, they will go into pots!

My second experiment – to overwinter a begonia – is also succeeding as a result of using some of the techniques I learned in seed starting class. I found the begonia in an end of season sale at one of the big box stores. It cost less than 30 cents and was in pretty bad shape. I planted it in my front flower bed and it perked right up. Last October, I transplanted it into a pot and brought it inside.

Pretty soon, it looked about the way it did when I bought it. At death’s door. I found it had mites and used some of my trusty, indoor plant bug spray. Even that didn’t perk it up. But when I started watering it with chamomile tea – bingo! The plant is now twice its October size and has lovely pink blooms.


Well, we’re hunkering down for winter. The long range forecast is showing temps in the 50’s for the second week of March. I hope it will be so…


6 thoughts on “Still Winter

  1. Great work saving the begonia. What kind of spray did you use for the mites?? We are predicted to be -23 on Sat and -28 on Sunday so I am still just looking at my seed catalogs!! I have 2 more de-cluttering projects to get done before I start seedlings!

  2. Imlocolinda asked about mites. Horticultural oil and insecticidal soap are the only two effective treatments because mites are not insects. They are related to spiders and are also sneaky, insidious and vile.

    • Imlocolinda and Lenora – the spray I used is called MITE-X and is supposed to control mites, thrips, and aphids. Active ingredients are cottonseed oil, clove oil, and garlic oil. It worked like a charm. Can’t find a single mite (or were they thrips? I really don’t know what a thrip is) anywhere on the plant!

  3. I’ve heard of the fish emulsion but chamomile tea? That’s new to me … and I love the concept. I can see why that would be helpful.

    Did the bunching onions ever germinate?

    When you try potting up the broccoli proofs, just dust them with a coating of soil at first, they aren’t strong enough to handle pushing through the soil if they were stared w/o pressure. I’ve not has a lot of luck getting such babies to take, but I’ve had a couple successes.

    • Chamomile tea is Lenora Larson’s suggestion – and a good one. It’s worked for me twice now. Maybe I’ll even drink some… Bunching onions? Nothing. I’m about to start broccoli all over again… Thanks, Renae, for taking the time to stop by!!

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