Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Fiacre waits, but not Patrick: Signs of Spring





March 17th

Everyone is Irish today, Happy St. Patrick's Day. But do you know who the patron saint is for gardeners? Well, it is another Irishman, a monk to be more exact and the feast day is celebrated on August 30th, St. Fiacre. I am going to try and remember this one for sometime in August.
The weather warmed over the last week from the extreme cold we had, some early spring plants are showing and I actually was able to photograph, on March 16th, a frog in the Frog Bog, a small pond in the middle of the vegetable garden. I did see a few earlier on March 15th but wasn't able to get a photograph.
On the 16th, I was also able to get a few pictures of the Rosy Reds swimming around for the first time since the winter set in. Rosy Reds are minnows in the Frog Bog which were added last year. On this day I also saw a salamander swimming in the pond, but it was next to impossible to get a photograph but I'm going to keep trying. And I would bet money, I also spotted a bullfrog tadpole race to the surface, gulp a breathe of air and quickly dove back deeper into the water.
Another date to remember: March 12th-the first robins and red winged black birds sighted. Now, other have told me they saw them a day or two earlier but this is the first time here.
It was warm yesterday and started to fix the fence for the peas and overturn some of the ground for planting. The weather will not cooperate for the next several days with rain changing to snow and lows in the twenties. The peas can wait for a few days before they are planted.
But the weather is breaking; certainly we'll have more snow.
Started to plant some tomatoes over the weekend which might be a tad early but I have a project to try out. So far the varieties planted, all saved heirloom seeds are: Roman, Bloody Butcher, Persimmon, and Manyel. The Jalapeno peppers sprouted over the weekend but still waiting for the chicken hearts and the hot cherry bells to show.
The tomato project is about cloning, so I wanted some larger plants in mid-May to clone so they will be ready to plant in mid-June. I've never tried this before and it might be an interesting experiment. It is possible that a fresh crop of tomatoes will be ready for harvest in mid September. An August 30th celebration to St. Fiacre might be appropriate for this tomato attempt. The frost around here is generally mid October.
If you have some extra time to spend, I did some writing on John Brown and on the Underground Railroad you might enjoy. Let me know.
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