Good Start to the Next Season

Our neighbor George is back in the hospital with heart issues. I spent a couple hours working with him on Saturday unloading a bedroom set and setting it up and noticed that he was really puffy with stored water and short of breath with only mild exertion. I guess it only got worse and his heart started doing “flips” Sunday. At half time of the Superbowl it got bad enough for him to go to the emergency room where they started draining the excess fluid. Barbara said they got rid of a couple of quarts Sunday night. He has had congestive heart failure for several years but George and Barbara treat that like something you “catch and cure” rather than being a chronic condition that has to be dealt with continuously. He’s also had a heart valve replacement and a pacemaker installed so he has more than a few cardiac issues to deal with. I visited him in the hospital on Monday – Nancy plays bridge in Palm Coast so I was in the general vicinity anyway. They did a stress test which he “passed” so he was released yesterday and is looking much better. They got 2 gallons of excess fluid and convinced him that paying attention to his diuretic med’s was a good idea.

We whipped up a batch of “loaded roast cauliflower salad” as we work our way through the cauliflower recipe library we’ve built up. I think we have about 3 weeks more cauliflower plants in the garden then we have to switch our attention to the leafy greens. Among those my favorite is the Swiss Chard and this season I’m paying much more attention to it – keeping it picked and keeping snails from chowing down on the new leaves. It’s the prime ingredient in my lunchtime smoothies. Nancy took in a “batch” of greens to the bridge ladies in Crescent City that included collards, kale, and lettuce. Much appreciated.

I mentioned planting seeds indoors for the spring crop. Those included 3 varieties of tomatoes, plum, cherry, and regular round ones. Within 4 days, 100% of the cherry tomato seeds had germinated and 4 days later the other varieties popped out as well – so I’m off to a good start. I’m going to approach this crop differently than in the past by exposing them to sunlight much earlier. We’re experiencing perfect weather for that purpose – mid to upper 70’s, mostly sunshine with an occasional cloud. My theory is that exposure to direct sunlight much earlier than I have done in the past will result in sturdier seedlings as compared to the long, leggy ones I usually produce indoors with artificial light. My new thinking is that the sturdier plants will have a better chance of survival when I transplant them in the garden next month. Our night time temps are in the lower 50’s so I bring them in at night, at least for the next week to ten days. Part of the danger of my new approach is that I forget they’re outside and they get nipped by the cool air. I also started eggplant and green pepper seeds at the same time but no signs of any germination yet on those. I don’t expect to see any action there for another week so I’m just assuming that everything is going according to plan underground.

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