Wednesday, February 24, 2010
As February continues it's slide into history, cabin fever is rampant. While the months have seemed to zip by, it has been a relentless winter, storm followed by storm and continued cold weather. And the wood pile getting low.
But looking at some photo's from last year, brought hope. The first peeps in 2009 began to sing on March 15th about the same time the first robins were sighted. Last year the weather seemed to warm somewhat earlier than usual; the peeps are generally out and singing sometime during the last week of March.
Weather folklore claims that once the peeps sing, there will be three more cold snaps with at least some snow. I've never kept real accurate records to test that one out but it seems about right. There is a similar folklore about daffodils. Once they open, there will be three more cold snaps with snow and then winter is gone. What weather folklores do you follow announcing the arrival of spring?
March 15th is actually hardly three weeks away. The wild leeks covered the woodlands less than three weeks after the peeps started singing. The picture of the leeks was dated April 3rd, 2009.
The appearance of the wild leeks was soon covered by what was recorded as the second peep snow on April 7th.
What it all means is that winter is on the downside and spring is near.
Late Winter to do List:
There are likely only a few weeks left when it will be good to trim berry bushes, such as blueberries and fruit trees. Pruning helps to improve the quantity and quality of the fruits and berries and helps to improve the bush or tree. Blueberries in particular do better after a pruning.
One of the symptoms of cabin fever are paging through seed catalogs. This helps with the late winter chore of making sure the garden plan and seeds are in order.
Depending on local conditions, seeds can be started indoors. Peppers are a good choice to start early, they seem to take a long time to germinate and grow. Tomatoes, on the other hand, grow like weeds and can get to leggy if started too early, even if given a lot of light.
Snow peas are a good choice for the first spring planting. The are tasty, healthy and can take a beating from cold weather. The one thing to be careful of when planting snow peas is the wet soil conditions. Like most veggies, snow peas don't like sitting around in water. Try to mound or drain the moisture away from the snow peas; powdery mildew and root rot can be problems in soggy soil areas.
Snow peas are a legume; they produce their own fertilizer and add important nutrients back into the ground. Depending on location and weather, now peas can be harvested in mid-May and the ground used for another crop, either a vegetable or a cover crop.
Snow peas are generally climbers and need a fence or trellis; a hanging basket might be a possibility. Some have attractive flowers which provide food for many early insects and birds.
Snow peas are healthy and an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a generally given high ranking as a food good for the heart. They are commonly found in health food stores and can be quite expensive even in supermarkets.
Snow peas are sweet and flavorful and can be used in a number of culinary experiments. They go well steamed and added to early spring potatoes with some leeks thrown in to the batch.
Snow peas are a good choice for an early spring crop; they can take a frost, even some snow, are rapid growers and produce plenty of edible pods. It's a nice gift or a good way to make some extra cash.
Winter: Enjoy What is Left
The ice fishing has been really good for the last several weeks and the snowshoeing has been excellent as well as the conditions for many other winter activities. It is not going to last so enjoy the fun, even a good snowball fight, while there is still time.
Good Blogs to Read
Vincent di Fondi
On Your Way to the Top
New York's Southern Tier