Birds, buds, and blooms announce: Spring is here - petsitterbank

Birds, buds, and blooms announce: Spring is here


The first full week of spring past

Spring is now past its first week whether it feels like it or not. All cool weather vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, radish, broccoli, spring onion sets, Irish potatoes and greens will be untouched by cool days and nights of March. We will probably have plenty of cold days and nights through March and even through part of April, but not much danger of the soil freezing even though there could be some snow.

Plenty of buds on dogwoods for April blooms

One sure sign that spring is here is the emerging buds on dogwood trees. Most trees have produced plenty of buds so we can look forward to a great display of dogwood blooms in a few weeks. Some buds start forming in late winter, but swell up as we pass mid March when they become visible on bare limbs.

Spring birds active at the feeder and bird baths

Robins don’t eat at the feeders, but they visit the birdbath all during the spring days. Most of their diet comes from worms, grubs and insects on the lawn. At the feeders, sparrows, chickadees, cardinals and blue jays as well as juncos show up each day. During spring, keep feeders and baths filled as birds will soon begin to nest and lay eggs.

Planting roses for beauty all summer

Getting rose bushes ready for a season of blooms as well as planting new rose bushes is the order of business as we move further into spring. The roses that have come through winter now need some attention as they begin a new season. Trim back old growth and canes. Remove all spent blooms and hips. Pull out chickweed and other weed growth. Dig around the base of roses and apply several handfuls of Rose-Tone organic rose food and cover it up. Water the roses and allow the food to soak in. When planting new rose bushes, consider the varieties of Mr. Lincoln, Peace and Tropicana as well as all varieties of Knockout roses in colors of red, yellow, pink and white. They are bush type with no long canes and easier to care for.

Knockout roses come in their trademark light green plastic buckets and are easy to plant. Dig a hole for the roses twice the size of the container. Fill the hole with water and allow it time to soak into the soil. Add several quarts of peat moss into the hole and water. Carefully remove rose bush from the bucket and place in the hole. Water the rose bush. Mix soil and peat moss together and fill the hole. Water and allow soil to soak down around the rose bush. Add more soil and a little more water. Finish filling in with soil and tamp down. Water roses once a week. Feed with Rose-Tone after a month and once a month afterwards. Use a sprinkling can or water wand in spray mode to water the rose when needed.

When will the last frost of spring occur?

Spring may be here, but Jack Frost can still be a possibility well into the month of April, and along with the frost some fairly cold nights. It is defiantly no time to plant or set out warm weather vegetables or tomato and pepper plants, unless you would just enjoy doing it all over again! My Northampton County grandma always said, “As long as you sleep with a blanket on the bed, it is too cold to plant or set out warm weather vegetables.” She did not have much education, but her words were wisdom worth listening to. She did not know horticulture but she knew a bit about agriculture and what made plants and vegetables tick and not tick.

Making a dish of cheesy bread

My mother always made cheese biscuits when we were kids. This is a form of cheese bread that is simple to prepare. You will need one beaten egg, one cup of Bisquick, half cup of milk, four tablespoons melt light margarine, one tablespoon sugar, one can cream style corn and eight ounce pack finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Combine corn, bisquick, beaten egg, margarine, milk and sugar, mix well. Pour half the batter into a greased casserole dish or baking dish, cover with the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and top with remaining batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes until golden brown. Check occasionally to see if done. Serves eight.

Not too late to sow mustard or greens

Cool early spring nights are receptive for a row or bed of greens which will produce a harvest in around 50 to 60 days. Curly mustard produces a sweet green that is tender. You can also use mixed greens that include kale, rape, tender green, mustard, broad leaf, leafy turnip and spinach. The hardware will mix the seed in the ratio you prefer. Plant the tiny seed in a furrow about 3 or 4 inches deep and cover with a layer of peat moss and apply an application of Plant-Tone organic vegetable food and hill up soil on each side of the furrow and tamp down with the hoe blade. One ounce of seed will plant a 4×4 bed or a 30 or 40 foot row.

Getting panda and asparagus ferns move ready

These ferns have spent winter in the living room in a semi-sunny location and are going soon to be ready for their move to the deck for spring, summer and early autumn. To get them ready, they will be trimmed and extra potting medium mixed with Flower-Tone organic flower food and a small amount of water to soak down the flower food. In winter, the ferns are trimmed back once a month to promote them to grow out instead of up. Inside the house, they develop runners because they are trying to get more light.

Irish potatoes should be planted during March

Irish potatoes are a vegetable that requires at least a 90-day growing season to produce a harvest. They should be planted by the end of March to assure a harvest in three months. Potatoes planted in March will be ready to harvest before the heat of Dog Days of July. Planting potatoes now will allow you to plant a warm weather vegetable such as green beans to follow the potato harvest. You can choose from Kennebre, Yukon Gold, Red Pontiac or Irish Cobbler. Always plant whole seed potatoes because when you cut the potatoes or split the eyes, you promote rot or mildew and mold. Place a layer of peat moss on top of the seed potatoes and apply Plant-Tone organic vegetable food before hilling up soil on both sides of the furrow and tamp down with the hoe blade for good soil contact. Set seed potatoes about 10 to 12 inches apart. Apply Plant-Tone once a month and hill up soil on both sides of row as the potatoes grow.

The deep greening of spring azaleas

In late March the deep green foliage of the azaleas becomes much more lively. At this time of year it is time to give them an application of Holly-Tone evergreen organic food and a drink of Miracle-Gro liquid azalea food to boost them to a season of colorful blooms. We like azaleas because of their evergreen foliage and their impact on the landscape of the house all seasons long.

Bee population begins wake up

With the color and fragrance of Carolina Jasmine and American violets, jonquils and hyacinths, the bees are making early arrivals and stretching their wings. It is a sure sign that the warmer days of spring are not too very far away.

Snow is a possibility in late March

The chances are not great as we end March, but there is the possibility and it has occurred in years past. A snow at this time of spring may not be heavy, but it could drum up a lot of excitement. No matter the amount, it will not hang around long but melt away quickly and like a snow in early April, it will only melt our hearts. This may be a way March leaves like a lion.

Keeping a magic potion for garden on hand

The cool soil on early cool weather crops needs a pep shot in the early spring garden. A bale of peat moss is the magic ingredient of the garden in all seasons especially in early spring. A 3.5 cubic foot bale costs about $11 or $12 and is the best improvement you can make to the garden soil. It improves texture, promotes growth, retains moisture and improves the production of vegetables. It is a totally organic product that makes a difference in any garden row or bed. It is great for plants and flowers. It is one of the best investments you can add to the garden and pays off in better soil and produce. It adds to the garden instead of subtracting.

If it forms a ball, don’t till at all

This is the formula for dealing with the soil in the early spring garden plot. Soil can be hard to work in early spring even when it is only a little bit moist, wet or damp soil is impossible to work with and it does more harm to the soil by working it when wet. If soil sticks to your shoes, it is too wet to work. Ball the soil up and if it forms a wet ball don’t work or walk in it. When soil will crumble in your hands and fall apart, conditions are ideal for working and planting in the soil.

Hoe hoe hoedown

“Good housekeeping.” One thing I can say for my wife, she’s a very neat housekeeper. If I drop my socks she picks them up. If I throw my clothes around, she hangs them up. Last night, I got up at three in the morning and went to the kitchen for a glass of milk. When I got back I found the bed made up.

“True Liar.” First wife: “Does your husband lie awake all night?” Second wife: “Yes, and he lies in his sleep too!”

“Hit the road Jack.” First husband: “I think my wife is getting tired of me.” Second husband: “Why would you even think a thing like that?” First husband: “She keeps wrapping my lunch in road maps!”

“Cookie Monster.” “Young man, there were two cookies in the cabinet this morning, why is there only one in there now?” The young man said, “It must have been so dark I didn’t see the other one.”

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