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There are little explosions going on right now. Color is coming back.
“Spring has almost sprung and the grass has riz, and I know where the flowers is.”
We have wildflowers popping up every day. As I drive in to work, I watch along the road and in the fields. The long wait is finally over.
If you want to bring a little of that color into the house, then go out and snip a few limbs off the forsythia.
Put them in a vase with warm water and watch them bloom earlier than the others. I’ve seen then starting to pop outside. The yellow and purple of the season got its start with wildflowers.
The trout-lily (aka the fawn-lily), is popping its pretty yellow head right now. Think of it as a bright yellow Flying Nun’s habit in a 40 mph wind. It’s close to the ground and has long, flat green leaves with occasional white spots. You’ll find them wild in the fields. Buttercups and wood poppies won’t be far behind. Each has beautiful yellow flowers. It’s the leaves that really vary. I think their leaves look like potato-leaf tomato leaves.
I know the winds are frequent now, but be thankful. It’s that wind that is drying out our beds and the good earth. It keeps those bright spots of color coming up. If we didn’t have the wind, the seeds might rot in the soil. Move back any mulch you need to allow perennials to pop if they’re pushing up. Keep a watchful eye on the weather.
If you’ve got ugly yard syndrome, as many of us do, then crank up the mower and cut the grass to about 2 inches. Technically, you shouldn’t let it grow taller than 4 inches. I don’t think the “weather” gives a hoot about being technical or not. If you have a problem with thatch build up in your lawn, you’re working too hard. Thatch comes from over fertilizing and over watering.
Those of you considering a new garden bed would benefit from a website, www.organic gardening. They’ve got instructions, but I think you should dig the soil twice as deep. Tomatoes like it deep. The website motherearthnews.com also has a great article on growing from bags of soil, just plopped down on the ground. We have the actual magazines at the library, if you don’t want to hit the computer.
Kill the crab grass now. Cut the potatoes to let them cure a few days before you plant (we hope) on Good Friday. Plant turnip, pea, carrot, lettuce and spinach seeds outside in the garden. Lime the garden to sweeten the soil. Plant the asparagus and rhubarb now. I feel like I’m reading off of my day planner. Seriously, timing is everything here, if you want it to work. Oh yeah, treat the fruit trees. Whew! We’re about to get real busy so you better be in shape or get in shape.
I think I stay in pretty good shape, but I sure could tell that I did some weed eating and weed pulling last week. We use a different set of muscles when we garden. In a weird combination, too. Twisting and turning and lifting and lowering can take its toll on our bodies.
When I was in Arizona, I had the perfect workout for it. I called it rabbit aerobics.
We had a rabbit, named Hasenpfeffer. Really. He was house broken but went in and out through the doggy door. When he wanted to stay out in the yard, he played a fun game of taking a few hops, waiting for me to bend over and pick him up and then run away 5 feet. He would repeat this game until I just got lucky or gave up. Eventually, we trained Ruffin, the cattle dog, to herd him into the house.
Just do what you can to limber up and get in shape after this long winter. Lord knows we’ll feel better. I still have a sign above my door that reads “The shortest way to heaven is through a garden gate.”
Actually, now that I think about it, after a hard day’s work that could take on a whole new meaning.
Now, don’t forget the Heirloom seed workshop at 10 a.m. this Saturday at the library. Call 839-6420 to get on the list. It’s free. Happy growing!
E-mail Cheryl Steenerson at firstname.lastname@example.org.