Sow There! Garden surprises and plants with friends, 2-23-2017

 Broccoli, found recently in the black, plastic truck bed liner/raised bed.

Broccoli, found recently in the black, plastic truck bed liner/raised bed. Heather Hacking — Enterprise-Record

Those folks who research consumer habits certainly have my number. Most markets place their seasonal plants just outside the front door.

Don’t be fooled. While it’s true plants need sunshine, and watering makes a mess, the real reason for the plant placement is to create an impulse buy.

Costco knows. Almost immediately after digging in my purse and flashing the membership card, I have bumped into a metal rack filled with spring bulbs. I would not doubt if the carts are equipped with magnets.

In my futuristic consumer nightmare, an iris scanner will register my shopping preferences, and my cart will be programmed toward flowers, chocolate and the free sample booths.

I have purchased enough bulbs and no longer have empty gardening containers. However, I’m sure the stores have more pots and potting soil in easy-to-find locations.

This week the gals at work planned a Galentine’s Day lunch (Valentine’s Day celebration just for women). The lunch-planner assured us we should not feel obligated to give gifts, however she planned to give us all gifts.

Naturally, the others on the lunch list strategized about the gifts we felt obligated to buy.

Chocolate was my first choice, but my cart bumped into the rack filled with primroses. If bought an entire flat — which means 12 four-inch potted primroses — this easily provided seven flowers for the gals and five for me.

The only reason that a five-foot-tall citrus tree did not jump into my cart is because I already had too much stuff in my car.


Primrose is one of those guilt-free plants. They bloom for a long time in the container, which makes them nice for the office or kitchen table. My theory is that once the plant starts to look ragged, you can plant it in the yard and hope for the best. When Chico’s hot weather settles in, the cool season plants usually die, at least in my yard.

I’ve had success moving potted primrose to the shade, or planting near the base of a wall that blocks the afternoon sun. However, once it stops blooming it looks like miniature romaine lettuce.

What grows there

On my day off there was enough sunshine to remind me to harvest spinach and kale. After the Galentine’s Day candy, I need to consume only salad for the rest of the week.

When I harvested greens last week I nibbled some jagged leaves that tasted just a bit different. The seeds were planted in October by the Handsome Woodsman, and I assumed it was an obscure variety of lettuce. When I went to snip more this week, I saw the smallest, green florets.

He planted me broccoli.

After a few searches online I learned that eating broccoli leaves is something people do. They’re often cooked like collards and kale in butter and garlic. One ounce contains 90 percent of your daily Vitamin A and 43 percent of Vitamin C.

After you grow a broccoli plant, battle the slugs, squirt cabbage aphids with the hose, and expect the plant to bolt as soon as the weather warms, you certainly are going to eat the plant, leaves and all.

I’m just tickled Dave never told me he planted broccoli, so that he left me the surprise.


Starting today, and continuing tomorrow, fun things will be happening at the Local Nursery Crawl, Like other map-following events, people race around to various locations, in this case it will be 14 nurseries. Similar to trick-or-treating, its a challenge to see how many places you can reach before you run out of energy.

Several local nurseries are also planning to have special sales.


A few months ago someone named Barbara sent me a condolence card. Inside was a gift certificate for the Little Red Hen Nursery. There was no return address, but the card was signed “Barbara.”

I’ve talked to four Barbaras, and none of them took credit for the kindness. The Little Red Hen, by the way, is on the Local Nursery Crawl list.

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