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February 2020, Week 4

Thanks to this being leap year, we get one extra gardening day this month....Saturday, February 29th. Use it wisely. (grin)

If it isn't raining all the time at your house, I'm guessing you're probably busy with planting cool-season crops, or at least preparing to plant them. I'm busy hoping the mud and puddles will dry up. Today Tim noticed that there barely is any water at all seeping from the higher ground to our south and streaming down our driveway.....for the first time in 2 or 3 months. Oh, it is still there. Don't get me wrong. The water flow though is probably only 10% of what it once was, so there is a chance the seep might dry up if we don't get a lot of rain anytime soon.

While we are having some nice, warm days every now and then, and I know winter has been pretty warm overall, we still are having some really cold (and freezing) nights. We have frost several times a week, so if there's any chance I'd be thinking of planting anything too early, between the cold nights and the frosts, it isn't going to happen this year.

A friend of mine mentioned that it is 'too late' to put out a pre-emergent weedkiller in their yard this year because all the weeds are up and growing. This is not something I worry about since most of the weeds in our yard are highly revered as early spring wildflowers that nurture the butterflies and the bees, but those comments made me stop and think. The weeds sprouting in our yards now are cool-season weeds that germinated back in the autumn, so the pre-emergent herbicides used in Spring aren't for those anyway---they are to prevent germination of warm-seaspn weeds. Now I wonder if my friend knows that and if I should mention it to him? Hmmm.

Some fruit trees already are blooming here, which I guess would aggravate me if they were our trees, but ours aren't blooming yet. The peach trees are extremely close though, and I think they'll bloom any day now. The sand plums are a bit behind them. Even the fig tree, which is one of the last trees to leaf out here, looks like it will be early this year. Rose bushes are leafing out early in the same if any of you need to prune back roses or fruit trees and you're further north and yours aren't leafing out, hurry up and get that pruning done!

Garden chores? It is the same old same old winter time garden chores. Rake and use those autumn leaves as the come down. (We still have oak trees that have brown leaves clinging to them in large numbers.) Feed the compost pile. Use the finished compost if there is any. Clean out the dead annual plants from last year and get ready to plant fresh ones for this year, etc., etc. etc. Plant bare root plants now while it still is cool enough to do so. Most stores now are getting in nice shipments of containerized plants too, and some of those can go into the ground now depending on their cold hardiness.

March and its evil, cold wind approaches very soon. Really, we have had a lot of wind the past few days already. Do not forget that these cold late winter/early spring winds can burn tender vegetation.

Nobody here in my area whose gardens we routinely drive past has planted anything yet. I guess it is too wet everywhere. I was thinking that maybe people with sandier soil might be planting now, but they aren't, so their sandy soil must be as waterlogged as our clay soil.

Despite the cold wind and the wet ground, the birds are in spring mode and I love hearing them singing when I wake up every morning. The squirrels have been AWOL all winter, but have returned to the yard now. I wonder why. Surely they haven't run out of acorns and pecans as the mast crop was huge this past year. I think they just come into our yard to taunt the dogs. The deer are around a lot, scarfing up any birdseed at night that the birds don't devour during the day. Skunks are out looking for mates, and leaving behind their telltale odor .We could live without that.

What's new with all of you?


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