First off comes the news that my part of New Jersey has moved from USDA Hardiness Zone 6 to Arbor Day Foundation Hardiness Zone 7 (a warmer zone). See the Arbor Day Foundation's map of Hardiness Zone changes between 1990-2006 for more details.
The weather has warmed up around here enough that most of the plants have been put out onto the deck. My tender tropical sage seedling is still inside, as is the rosemary plant. Meanwhile, a couple of lettuce seedlings are poking up. No spinach has been heard from yet, so I planted more. One mitsuba seedling is growing. Oddest of all is the seedling in one of last year's Thai basil pots, which looks suspiciously like Thai basil. Since this pot sat out on the deck all winter, a tropical seedling from an herb such as Thai basil should not be growing in the pot, but there it is.
Meanwhile, some of this year's new plants have arrived, if only in seed form. I ordered seeds of green shiso, upland cress and holy basil from Nichols Garden Nurseries. In addition, they sent me a free packet of carrot seeds (Scarlet Nantes variety) for the Garden Writers Association Plant a Row for the Hungry initiative. Given my novice gardening skills, I'm not sure how many carrots I'll really be able to contribute to the neighborhood soup kitchen, but I'll give it a go.
When I was on Cape Cod for the holidays, my mother gave me some Black-seeded Blue Lake bean seeds. I need to set up some sort of framework before I plant them, but my mother says they're a good variety that's very easy to grow. I hope so, since I haven't done the bean thing before. I've also planted some peas from last year, so we'll see if they produce anything.