The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Tomorrow we celebrate Groundhog Day – Will the groundhog see his shadow tomorrow? Whether he does or not, we still have six weeks or more of winter to deal with. It is now February and we can expect more cold then warm days regardless of what the groundhog observes. One bit of lore which we know is not true says, “Of Groundhog Day showers and rain, winter will be gone and not come again.” Notice that this lore said nothing of sleet, snow, and ice, and this is what we can expect if we get any precipitation on Groundhog Day. We need the snow more than showers.

Valentine’s Day less than two weeks away – The season of love and the heart is only 13 days away. The inventory in most flower shops, big box stores and department stores are still huge. When all else fails in your search for a perfect valentine, a gift card or restaurant certificate will always make a great Valentines gift.

February is the shortest month of winter – As a month that has 28 days this makes February the shortest month of the year and also winter’s shortest month. Even though it is short, it can become the coldest month of winter. February can also deliver a few hefty the snowfalls. A bright spot is it is the month and season of Valentine’s Day. As we move on into the month of February, we will see the green spikes of hyacinth and daffodils popping from cold February soil.

Robbins on the lawn during cold February morn – We believe a lot of robins don’t fly south in winter, but remain here and find homes in hollow logs, under barns and sheds and other protective areas. We see them often during winter and also at Covington Park. They seem to be comfortable even in the dead of winter and certainly, they look well fed. Maybe there is global warming and our winters are mild or maybe the robins are a tougher breed in the 21st-century. We are glad to see them here.

February is best time for lawn care – In February the lawn is dormant which makes this the very best time to apply an application of fertilizer to the winter lawn. Never use 10-10-10 garden fertilizer on lawns, but use specially formulated lawn fertilizers. It may cost a little more money but the end results are well worth it. Fertilizer applied to a February lawn is rewarding because a snow will soak the fertilizer into the soil and not wash away. Fertilizer applied to the lawn in February will certainly be more effective and produce a season of results.

Pruning fruit trees and grapevines during the month of February – In February fruit trees and grapevines are dormant which makes limbs and branches very visible and easier to prune and shape. Pruning makes the trees and vines look neat, and makes them productive and the harvest easier. Pick a sunny day this month and make this a priority in February. It will pay off with blossoms and fruits.

Applying dormant spray to fruit trees and grapevines – On a sunny, dry, February day when there is no wind blowing, apply dormant oil spray to fruit trees and grapevines. Spray from top to bottom and make sure the limbs are shiny. Do this at a time when no rain is in the forecast for several days.

Hard freezes can be expected during February – The garden plot needs some hard freezes to kill off wintering insects and pests and decrease their population. Hard freezes, will also destroy weed seed organisms and fungus that hinder vegetable crops from producing. Hard freezes well destroyed many soil diseases.

Watching the windshield in February – The rough month of February is hard on your vehicles windshield with salt, grime, and debris from snow removal equipment splattering it and making visibility very difficult. Keep a bottle of windshield washer with deicer in it and clean the windshield several times a week. Keep a gallon of windshield washer fluid with the deicer in the trunk of your vehicle and refill the washer each week. When you need to add water to your engine in winter, always use antifreeze instead. Check your wiper blades often in winter and replace if they become worn.

Starting a packet of red radishes in the month of February – It may be cold and freezing, but February can have a warm day or two when the ground is not frozen. Take advantage of one of these afternoons and sow a packet of radish seeds. They are a tough cold weather vegetable and a packet of seeds cost around two dollars so what have you got to lose?

The almanac for month of February – The shortest month of the year begins today and tomorrow. We celebrate Groundhog Day and whether or not he sees his shadow or otherwise, we still have six weeks of winter to contend with. The moon reaches its last quarter on Wednesday, February 7. Abraham Lincoln‘s birthday will be celebrated Tuesday, February 12. Ash Wednesday is February 14. Saint Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, February 14. There will be a new moon on Thursday, February 15. Presidents Day will be Monday, February 19. George Washington‘s birthday is Thursday, February 22. The moon reaches its first quarter on Friday, February 23.

A cold month with no full moon – Bonnie Guitar use to sing her hit song “Dark Moon”. What is the cause, what is the cause I have lost your love? We actually know the cause here in the year 2018. It is because we had two full moons in January 2018 and believe it or not, we will have to full moons during the month of March, 2018. This has been two months of blue moons. It is been a season when blue moons turn to gold again!

Watching for garden groundhogs – Groundhog Day will be tomorrow and we like groundhogs when they look for their shadow, but when they start fooling around in the garden plot, they have gone a little too far! We have a preventative measure to move them out of the garden. Mix four or five tablespoons in a half gallon of water, pour into a sprayer or Windex bottle and spray on leaves a vegetable plants. Add eight or 10 mothballs between the rows and sprinkle red pepper on the leaves of sprayed plants. Groundhogs can’t stand the heat, smell, or taste and will not have time to see a shadow!

Ray Baird