I keep working on trying to make videos of garden subjects. Early spring in the morning meant a quiet visit with no distractions, as my husband and I walked around the garden.
|Yes, playing with Picmonkey. What else on the rainy/snowy/frozen days we are having? Housework, you say? What is that?|
Yes, the weather again. We are still in the throes of winter. Throes I say! Everyone says they are tired of it, but we really don’t have any say in the weather, do we? It will affect how soon we will be able to plant out our seeds and new plants.
The ground will stay frozen for longer than we are used to in this part of the country.
That is my prediction.
Vegetable plants like peppers, and most especially tomatoes, need warm soil to thrive. This will be one year to not rush the season.
Frozen earth for another few weeks.
Hit The Ground Running
If we have raised beds, we are one step ahead in warming up the soil. I’m glad I made some raised beds a couple years ago. They dry out quicker in the spring, which is a boon in this clay-loam, high water table area.
Have you ever used floating row covers? I haven’t, but this would be a great year to begin. There are a few things to remember, as Colorado State cautions:
“Thwart weeds that may thrive in a covered environment by using a mulch such as black plastic before planting.”
Do We Have Garden Tips For March?
- We can safely start early indoor crops, plants started now should be ready to plant out after the last frost date without becoming too leggy.
- A late winter means that dormant plants can still be pruned.
- It will eventually warm up, and when it does remove the old stuff that is still left from last years garden.
- Don’t pull back mulch from your plants, especially the roses, too early.
- Check for winter damage- there is bound to be something this year.
The butterfly exhibition is coming to Franklin Park Conservatory. Starting on March 19th this year, the Conservatory will host Blooms and Butterflies and start it off with a Butterfly Carnival.
This exhibition is one of the most entertaining ways to experience the Franklin Park Conservatory, although I think there is something exciting about all their programs. This one,though, is almost magical. The brightly colored butterflies from exotic places are most unusual and will land on your hand, if you are lucky. They float through the air in the lush Pacific Island Water Garden, mingling with the Chihuly glass sculptures there and the plants of a rain forest.
“Franklin Park Conservatory is the only public botanical garden in the world to own a signature collection of Dale Chihuly’s glass artworks.”
Be sure to see Gardens in Ohio.
Cold Climate Gardening’s Kathy Purdy calls it The Mud Season, and it has hit Ohio with a vengeance this year. Right now in our area it is more like Pond Season which will morph into Mud Season.
For mommies, that means trying to stave off the inevitable tracks through the house. Mats at the door, double mats in fact (one inside, one outside the entrances). If your family can get used to it, the rule of “shoes off at the door” helps.
For gardeners, especially if they garden on clay soil, the admonition is: don’t touch that soil. OK, you can touch it, but don’t try to dig in it yet. Besides the fact that it is hard to work, clay soils worked too early and while still wet will clump when they dry. Those rock hard clumps can be impossible to return to good tilth in time to plant. They will interfere with plants, compaction of the soil interfering with root growth and losing the important air spaces. Yes, plants must breathe both above ground and underground. Good humus-y organic soils do that, but compacted clay is difficult to garden on.
Wait until the soil dries out to a crumbly texture (when it crumbles in your hand, instead of holding a clay ball when squeezed), keep on adding amendments like compost, and work up for planting.
It is a spring like this when raised beds prove their worth. Raised beds dry out more quickly in the spring and allow for earlier sowing.
Before the winds kicked up too much I made the rounds of my garden, hauling a few large branches to the pile that is accumulating in the back part of the yard. There was little blooming… a stand of snowdrops, and a lone crocus struggling in the grass. All the rest of the crocus are merely green shoots- not at all like most ides of March.
While there were signs of our spring, it will take the warmer temperatures predicted for later this week to convince the bulbs, trees, and shrubs to display their hand… they hold it close still, betting that winter will strike again. And if I were a gambler I would bet with them, so I will not complain about the late arrival of blooms here. I hope it means that we will have a good display later, without the spoiling late frosts.
The hellebores were rather smashed underneath the snows this year… they are blooming, but none are held high as they usually are. I put the camera close within the foliage to snap a picture of a few of the blooms.
I had some book from the library, but was very disappointed that my eyes were not up for reading. They are better now, a little, and I hope to spend some time with this book:
I was very happy to find it since starting a prairie patch in the front yard last year. I think prairies are part of the “slow gardening” that promises to be a more restful and satisfying approach to gardening. It was once the native environment here… not that it could be replicated, but it has the right “feel” for this place.
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© 2010 written for Ilona’s Garden Journal. Copyrights apply.
It is March now. In the laziest of months the prairie winds blow wild here, but in March they really let loose. Only a blue moon hurricane does worse. You have to develop a sort of tolerance for these winds, something my husband never seems to have done. Every year, he spits out, “that wind!” with a grimace and inflection that makes any cuss words unnecessary. He hates the way the afternoon winds kick up in the best of times, and especially when they blow hard in the transitional seasons.
Our winds can make the house rattle, they can send things not battened down halfway across a field. The chimney cap comes off with regularity.
But you can fly kites here, if you have a liking. And you can feel a cool breeze on those blasted July days when the city sits in its breathless dead humidity and heat.
Mornings can often be still. Not in March, though. March can blow a grown woman sideways if you let it. Spring storms are a’coming, with their first blasts still of a cold bluster, but I’m looking forward to those at the end of the month. The time when the unmistakeable warmth of those southeastern winds bring that balminess and scent of warm earth thawed and getting ready for April’s growth spurt.
It is then one can love the wind in its more kindly aspect.
The short respite of warm weather gave a glimpse of the emerging daffodil’s speared leaves piercing through the bare ground, but winter’s icy hands are loathe to let us go and has employed the March Lion to fiercely roar with gusts of a blizzard storm. Winter dies hard this year, but I am hopeful that the old adage of “March that comes in like a lion will go out like a lamb” will hold true. I hope it blows all its force of cold and freezing weather out and exhausts itself … and then leave us and our gardens in peace.
At least there might be some snow cover for the tender tips of the sprouts that bravely saw their way to the light! I’d say some, if there is the full 12 or 15 inches they predict we may see. I haven’t seen so much snow in years.
My husband heard some one share an old weather saying: “when snow is the size of meal, it will snow a great deal”. We started with just such sized snow, sandblasting me when I went outside. It was tiny and icy and the wind carries it almost horizontally to the ground. Where I live the wind creates drifting on the wide expanse of flat farmland. There are skimmed areas where the grass peeks through and then white mounds that collect when broken by fence, bush, or building. I am glad I have a supply of hot tea and cocoa… it looks like I will need it while holed up for the weekend. We are just hoping the electricity doesn’t go out!
*that picture is an actual snowflake photo that was taken under a microscope! (no, I didn’t take the photo, tho’)