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March 2018, Week 4, No Fooling......

So, we begin the final week of March in the midst of March Madness and with both Easter and April Fool's Day approaching us only one week from today. I feel like March flew by even more quickly than February, perhaps because we all were so busy and not hampered by heavy rainfall.

What is everyone going to be doing during the final week of March?

I'll mostly be working ahead on warm-season bed prep and such, having completed all the cool-season stuff. I wish I could capture the garden in time and freeze it in place today, with all the planted beds freshly weeded and mulched and looking so placid, happy and orderly. A week from now it won't be the same because something like bindweed, lambsquarters or Japanese knotweed will begin popping up through the mulch, and I'll yank out those weedy things and wish I had more mulch to apply more thickly to prevent future weeds. Eventually there will be more mulch, but this early in the year before regular lawn mowing begins, mulch is hard to come by and rather thinly applied.

If it rains a lot this week and I'm stuck indoors, I'll probably start some warm-season seeds in paper cups---maybe some of the new zinnia varieties, or perhaps icebox melons. I get really bored when rain keeps me out of the garden. Maybe I could just sit in the new garden shed with the door open and watch it rain on the garden. Or, I could clean house and do other mind-numbingly dull things that are not nearly as wonderful as spending a Spring day in the garden.

Today at Home Depot, while Tim spent an excrutiating amount of time searching for exactly the right bolt (how many bolts can they have there(?)---apparently lots and lots), I went out to the garden center only to find that summer had arrived. Yes, summer. Those certainly weren't just early springtime plants I saw being carted out of the store--they had kangaroo paws, annual salvias and other plants like New Guinea impatiens (full sized and in full bloom) that I know would not survive a late freeze here, ornamental sweet potatoes and the like, and people were buying them. They had asiatic lilies in six-packs. I've never seen those before. I wanted to tap everyone on the shoulder and ask them if they knew they were buying tender plants that would freeze, but my mamaw always said if you cannot say something nice, don't say anything at all. Since I couldn't decide if it was nice to question their judgement in a roundabout way, I kept my mouth shut.

It certainly wasn't me that you saw there carrying out blueberry plants in full bloom (shouldn't we tell them they have to pull off all the berry blooms this year?), full flats of tomato plants and pepper plants, squash plants and eggplant plants (I know, that is redundant) and New Guinea Impatiens. I was not the person buying starter cages (the likes of which I've never seen before) that were listed as cages for starter plants and were maybe 12-15" tall. What happens after the plants outgrow those cages in two weeks? Do you put a larger cage around the smaller one? I desperately wanted to ask the dad with his 12-15" tall cages, large-ish tomato plants and three young kids if he knew those cages weren't going to be large enough for those plants past mid-April, but wouldn't that have been rude? How often must we just bite our tongues and keep our mouths shut, or risk being banned from Home Depot's Garden Center? I just shouldn't be allowed to go into Garden Centers at this time of the year because I want to stop everyone from making questionable purchases.

I am an impatient tomato planter at this time of the year, but I still know better than to bring home New Guinea impatiens, ornamental sweet potato vines and eggplants before Easter. I had to bite my tongue so hard today that I'm surprised it wasn't bleeding. Then I arrived home to a garden full of cool-season plants wilting in the 80-degree heat at 11:45 a.m. For the record, our forecast high for today was 80, and of course we exceeded that. After a nice blast of water from the hose, all the lettuce and brassicas perked up and the wilting disappeared, and I started praying for rain to come sooner rather than later.

Want to pull a combination Easter prank/April Fool's Day prank on some innocent unsuspecting person? I saw this one on FB and it made me laugh. I like brussels sprouts, but I'd never do this to somebody else. It just would be too cruel. Plus, why ruin good brussels sprouts by dipping them into chocolate? I cannot imagine this would be an edible combination anyone would enjoy. Still, since it involved brussels sprouts, it seems sort of garden-related.

Easter/April Fool's Pranks

I face a bad combination this week. The Spring garden is planted, the Summer garden is started but I'm not willing to plant anything more just yet---never plant more warm-season plants early than you're willing to cover/uncover if cold weather returns. I'm actually caught up on laundry and pretty much on house-cleaning. Tim will be out of town and I'll be home alone, just me, the credit card and the opportunity to do online shopping on a rainy day. Hmmm. Seed shopping or a garden supply shopping binge might happen.


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