The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Taking care of heavy, wet, winter snow – Believe it or not, snow may look fluffy and white, but it is heavy. This is why we need to keep a broom handle when it snows to sweep it off of low hanging tree limbs and bushes and shrubs and also to knock down icicles hanging above the carport and porch. Several times while snow is falling, check the entrances to your home and sweep windblown snow from doorways to prevent someone from slipping and falling. Check rose bushes and brush heavy snow from the canes to prevent damage.

Valentine’s Day will soon be here – It’s hard to believe, but the day of hearts and flowers is only three weeks away and now is the time to spend an afternoon finding a perfect valentine for sweetheart, kids, and grandkids. If you have a family member who is a gardener or flower lover, give them a potted flower like an azalea or Christmas cactus that can be transplanted into larger containers or outdoors in spring. Gift certificates from garden shops and hardware stores make great Valentines. For kids and grandkids a Walmart gift card stuffed in a Valentine card makes great gifts. Give certificates and cards from favorite restaurants are always a favorite.

The longest month of winter has only seven more days – It’s no wonder January seems so cold because after all it is winter’s longest month and now it is down to only seven days. The days of remaining January are getting longer and brighter by a minute per evening. Another interesting fact is that spring of 2018 is only six weeks from now!

Remember to keep your recycling resolution – As January moves closer to its end, remember to keep your New Year’s resolution to recycle every item you can to keep it from the landfill. All cardboard, plastic cartons in containers, litter soft drink bottles, and aluminum soft drink cans, metal cans, milk cartons, glass bottles and jars, toilet paper and paper towel tubes. Clean and break down all items such as cans in cardboard. Everything that you recycle will make a huge difference.

Starting something in the 2018 garden – January is cold and sometimes freezing, but it will soon come to an end. On a Sunday afternoon when the ground is not frozen, you can start a vegetable that will withstand cold temperatures and cost less than two dollars per packet. They are radish. You can choose from many varieties such as Cherriette, Cherry Belle, Cherry Bomb, Easter Egg. An advantage of planting radishes they have an almost 100 percent germination rate which is great especially in the dead of winter. A great suggestion when planting radish in late January is to cover the seed with a layer of Peat Moss and a thin layer of soil. Spread a plant cloth over the row for some added protection.

Beware of this bit of January weather lore – January can bring a Carolina blue sky in the morning with a 49 degree day, and become gray and 30 degrees by dark. With this in mind, consider this taste of winter weather lore – “A fair day in January can become the mother of a winter storm. The North wind can turn a mild day into a mother of a storm!” In view of this lore, don’t let it discourage you from sewing a bed or row of radish because, the Peat Moss will give them some warmth in the plant cloth will give them protection, and believe it or not, the snow itself can provide insulation.

Saturday will be Saint Hilary day – Who is Saint Hilary? This was a cold English saint who lived several centuries ago. A tradition on his special day which we will celebrate Saturday, says this supposed to actually be the coldest day of the year. This is saying a lot when you consider the coldest month of the year which is February is only eight days away. Another fact is that even in early March, we can experience very cold days. So much for the lore and legend of Saint Hilary!

Here is some more January weather lore – January seems to be the month of saints and Sunday we celebrate Saint Paul’s day. (This is the Apostle Paul). There is some very interesting weather lore on his day that is as interesting as Paul himself. This lore says that “if that day is bright and clear, we can expect a great gardening year.” Here’s hoping Saint Paul’s Day will be bright and clear even if it is cold! We can finish off the week with a bit of more lore, which doesn’t concern a saint but is interesting nevertheless. This lore states that a fog in January is a harbinger of a wet spring. This could be bad news for the garden and we do believe this is bore and not lore because fog in January is so very rare.

Ray Baird