We've had an unseasonably mild winter in Maryland this year. That, combined with my previous experience with gardens on the Gulf Coast means I'm mentally ready to start planting tomatoes in early February. Until planting time is here I’ll be admiring my seeds and making elaborate garden layout charts.
I've had good luck starting plants from seeds in the past and like the low cost and variety available. Starting plants inside also gives me something to do in February. This week I started some "creole red" onion, spinach, mache (dutch corn salad), and "Speckles" butterhead lettuce. I can direct sow more spinach and mache in a week or two but I wanted to get a head start.
This year I'm very excited to have a 12 by 20 foot "half-plot" at the Howard County Conservancy Community Garden. I payed a small rental fee and agreed to do a certain amount of community service in and around the garden. Though I can’t walk or ride a bike there, it is close enough to our apartment that a visit every day or every other day would not be extravagant. Last weekend we started turning the soil (that would be the “royal we”, meaning Dylan turned the soil and I offered helpful tips). I was encouraged by the number of earthworms we saw. Snow Peas will be the first to go directly in the garden, hopefully by the end of next week if weather permits.