SHADOW OR NOT, WINTER STILL HAS SIX MORE WEEKS Whether the groundhog saw his shadow or not this past Tuesday, which was Groundhog Day, winter is still very much alive and well and we can look forward to more than six weeks of cold, snow, ice, sleet and some wind mixed with it all. Note that we did not say anything as we mentioned groundhog day but a bit if winter lore says that if lightning occurs in late winter, snow is a possibility in April. Along with fickle April, what an April Fool’s surprise that would be!
ROBINS, HYACINTHS,WILD ONIONS MAKE THE WINTER SCENE With groundhog day over the hill at least six more weeks of winter, signs of spring are making their way upon the winter scene with spikes of hyacinths popping out of leaf-covered ground for a hint of deep green. Robins are on the lawn and on the park as they search for worms and insects. We do believe they are with us all winter long and they definitely have plenty of warm places to hide and make themselves a home. The wild onions are tough and showing up on the lawn contrasting their dark green with the brown of most of the lawn. An effective way to control early wild onions in February is to crank up the weed-eater on a barren sign like Leo and cut the onions down to ground zero. This may not kill them, but it will stunt their growth and slow them down during the February cold. This will also make the lawn look better.
THE DIFFERENCE OF MORE DAYLIGHT Dark thirty is later as we move into February and daylight keeps extending itself by a minute every evening. Next month , we will be enjoying a whole extra hour of day light when Daylight Savings Time arrives. We like these extra daylight minutes in February so we can enjoy colorful sunsets, evening stars and scurrying birds.
STARTING A SMALL LETTUCE AND RADISH BED It may be too cold for many and most crops but lettuces and radish are tough enough to endure February old produce a harvest in 45 days. A packet of radish and two packs of lettuce at less than two dollars is all the investment you need for these early crops.
IT IS VERY COLD IN THE TURNIP PATCH, BUT PRODUCTIVE The sod is cold but not frozen in the turnip patch because the sod around the turnips is covered with a blanket of leaves to protect the turnips. The colder the sod is, the sweeter the turnips are. They are a real treat in the middle of winter. Just cut them after peeling, and cook them like mashed potatoes, add butter or margarine, salt, pepper and a bit of sugar or Karo syrup for a great taste of winter!
THE PANDA AND ASPARAGUS FERNS ARE WINTERING OVER These two evergreen ferns are doing well near the living room window, getting ready for their move to the deck and porch in mid-April. during winter, they develop long runners which we trim off to promote growth of more greenery. A drink of water every week and a shot of Miracle Grow liquid fertilizer once a month is all they need. Both these old fashioned ferns will survive for many years with worry-free effort.
THE SEASON OF THE VALENTINE DRAWS NEARER Not everything is gray on a cold February day with Valentine’s Day just nine days away. There is still plenty of time to choose the right Valentine for that special person, whether it be wife, sweetheart, children or grandchildren. You can choose from flowers, candy, Valentine gift cards from a variety of stores. If your valentine is a gardener, you can choose a gift of seed or plants from the hardware or seed stores. A meal at a favorite restaurant and a movie makes a great Valentine gift. The important thing is to remember.
A BLEEDING HEART BUSH MAY BE THE PERFECT VALENTINE A beautiful, practical and long-lasting gift for your Valentine could be the pretty bleeding heart bush from the nursery. The bleeding heart produces red heart-shaped one inch flowers with a small white “tear drop” at the top of each flower. They are tough and bloom every spring early summer. They can be easily transplanted to your favorite spot and enjoyed for many years to come.
VALENTINE COLOR AT THE WINTER FEEDERS A real burst of color at the February feeders are the red cardinals flying in and out on a winter morning. Adding extra motion and color are the chicadees, junkos and mocking birds. Keep the feeders filled and remember to fill birdbaths when the temperatures rise above freezing.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR FURNACE’S FILTER The furnace is working hard during the February cold. Check the filter every week or ten days and change or clean it if necessary. Always keep an extra filter ready near the furnace. A clean filter makes for cleaner, dust-free air and easier breathing.
THE SLEEPING SPRING BULBS ARE WAKING UP The deep green spikes of jonquil, tulips and hyacinths are now peeking from the winter soil and will soon be bursting into a spray of color. They are a sign that the season of spring is on it’s way.
FEBRUARY ALMANAC-Groundhog Day was Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Mardi Gras begins on Tuesday February 9, 2016 and Ash Wednesday is Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Valentine’s Day is Sunday, February 14, 2016. The moon reaches it’s first quarter in Monday, February 15, 2016 Presidents Day will be Monday, February 15, 2016. The moon will be full on Monday, February 22, 2016 and the name of this moon will be “Full Snow Moon”. February 2016 is leap year which has 366 days and Monday, February 29, 2016 will be known as “Leap day”!
PLANTING A BED OF VALENTINE-COLORED RADISH Radish is one of the first vegetables that can be planted to begin 2016 garden season. A packet costs less than two dollars and these seeds require only a small amount of space and produce a harvest in about 45 days. Most gardeners don’t know this, but the tops of radish can also be eaten.
GOOD NEWS FOR BURPEE SEED ORDERING When you order seed from the Burpee 2016 Seed catalog from now until February 29, 2016, you can receive free shipping and handling on your order no matter how much you order. This is quite a savings because shipping and handling can add up to more than fifteen percent of your order. This is worth taking advantage of.
A CLOUD DAY HYBRID TOMATO FROM BURPEE Burpee has a tomato variety named “Cloudy Day”. It is a tomato for cooler weather, late autumn that thrives in cooler temperatures of early spring and late autumn. It is indeterminate and blight-resistant. It produces four to five ounce fruits. It has a hefty price of $6.95 for just 25 seeds. We think it is a good gamble for early and late tomato harvest. We will order one packet and plant ten seeds for spring and fifteen seeds in autumn and report to you on the total result of the experiment.
PARK SEED OFFERS UNUSUAL EGG PLANT COLORS FOR 2016 Parks seed offers a white eggplant appropriately named “white star” and a packet of 25 seeds costs $2.95. They also offer a persimmon-shaped orange eggplant, tennis ball sized, very usual for $2.50 a packet of 25 seeds.
Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at BSylvia1946@gmail.com.