Thursday, March 2, 2017

Confusion


Is it spring?  Is it winter?  I’m so confused!  I have a feeling that’s what my poor perennials and trees are saying as well – I can practically see them scratching their heads as they ponder whether it’s time to leaf out or not.

This has been the warmest February that I can remember – one day last week, it was actually shorts weather with temperatures reaching a record breaking high of 16C/61F.  And yesterday - a high of 14C/57F.  Today?  It's -7C/19F with a windchill of -15C/5F.  Crazy.

Of course I, being human and all, enjoy a bout of spring-like weather just as much as anyone else, but this feeling is always tempered by worry.  Top of mind are the fruit trees.  If they come out of dormancy during one of these warm spells, thinking that spring has officially arrived, it may be another fruitless year if all those buds are killed off once winter returns.

My apple trees are in their 3rd year and I was actually hoping to get a few fruits from them this year.  I’ve had to pick off baby apples from the Granny Smith tree for 2 years in a row now – a necessary evil so that the tree spends its limited energy developing a good root system.

Baby Granny Smith apples in 2015



But I think I’ve been patient enough.  This year I was planning on letting a few apples ripen – a person can only be so patient, you know :) Fingers crossed that our crazy weather doesn't put the kibosh on my apple harvest.

Indoors, it’s much more apparent which month we are in as February marked the start of the growing season at our house.  The alliums are up and running:

Onions, shallots & leeks

And pepper seedlings are not far behind:

Pepper seedlings

A more detailed post on both of these as well as details of last year’s results is in the works.

I've also started a couple of sweet potatoes:

Sweet potatoes

I've yet to have an overly successful year when it comes to sweet potatoes, but I'm not giving up yet.  Last year, I placed the jars by a sunny windowsill but I'm thinking it was too chilly for them as they took forever to produce slips.  This time round, I decided to place them on a heat mat under grow lights - I'm hoping this will speed things up a bit.

And now for a recent surprise.  Last spring, I purchased a couple of small muscari pots on a whim.  Once they had finished flowering, I considered transplanting them outside but then decided against it as I had read that muscari can become invasive, depending on the species.  Since I didn’t know the specific variety, I wasn’t willing to take the chance.  So I placed the pots in the basement, awaiting the big fall pot cleanup. Well, I completely forgot about them and they just sat there all winter.

Imagine my surprise when I saw some green poking out of the dry-as-dust soil in one of the pots.  A couple of weeks later and they are well on their way:


Will we be enjoying some beautiful blooms soon?  Stay tuned…. :)

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

20 comments:

  1. Hey, I've got the answer. It's both! Meteorological spring (for the keeping of records) begins March 1, while astronomical spring begins with vernal equinox on March 20 at 10:29 UTC (March 20 at 5:29 a.m. CDT).

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  2. I don't think the sweet potato needs the light to start, just warmth. I had mine started in a dim living room on the fire place mantle and they rooted quick, grew slips quick (too quick)

    I just rested mine on the bottom of a glass to start rather than put sticks through them. I read that the sticks can cause the potato to rot.

    My first attempt at growing them
    https://ourlittlefield.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/growing-sweet-potatoes.html

    I now have 20 slips from one potato.

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    1. Thanks for the advice Andy - when you think about it, that makes total sense! I actually did have a fleeting thought about why I was placing the potato under lights when there was no green on it. At the moment, however, the grow mat is the best spot for it as the rest of the house is comparatively chilly so the decision was more or less made for me.

      The thing with sweet potatoes is that different varieties grow at different rates - I think Daphne (from Daphne's Dandelions) use to have a 2 month gap between when she started the slower vs. quicker varieties. Mine looks to be a slow poke so I'm hoping the warmer conditions this year make a difference.

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  3. I had to giggle, I would be freezing in your shorts weather. It was almost 60 today and I was dressed in long pants and sweater. Your seed starting looks great! I decided this year I would direct sow everything since I didn't get started on time. Good luck with the potatoes, I can't wait to read how those work out this year for your.

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    1. Ha, ha - it's all relative isn't it? When it's 60 in February, we are in shorts and t-shirts - but I'd grab a jacket if it was July :) It must be nice to have the option to direct sow most things - we would be so limited in what we could grow if we couldn't get things started early indoors.

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  4. We keep toying with the idea of trying to grow some sweet potatoes. We actually started seed sowing today.

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    1. I'm on year 3 of my sweet potato experiments - hopefully 3rd time is the charm :)

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  5. Nice to see you blogging again. We've had some mild weather here too, though I woke to a sprinkling of snow on the ground the other day, so I'm sure our plants will be just as confused as yours are. How lovely that your growing year has started, you'll soon be running out of space as all the seedlings start vying for every inch. I'm cutting down again this year so it will be nice to follow along with you and see how you're getting on.

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    1. Thank you Jo - it feels good to get back in the swing of things. Not 100% yet, but getting there.

      Today it's a chilly one here and next weeks it's supposed to warm up again so it seems these swings are going to continue...sigh. And you are right - I have a feeling I'll be running out of space even sooner this year as I've decided to start quite a few ornamentals, some of whom I just sowed today. I had better start making room by the living room window :)

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  6. It was 73 on Tuesday and tonight dropping down to 10F :( At the same time I already have flowers in bloom! Mother Nature having extreme moodswings.

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    1. Seems that most of us are experiencing wacky weather this winter - hopefully not too much damage is done :(

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  7. I'm suffering from the same confusion! It was so warm last week I was looking forward to working in the garden over the weekend. Today is Saturday, though, and it's freezing!

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    1. Yup - looking around the garden this afternoon we were in gloves, hats, scarves. It was one of those days where it feels colder than the temperature and there was a bitter wind. It was a relief coming back inside.

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  8. So glad you've returned! I truly hope all is well. And I completely empathize with the confusion about whether it's spring or winter. I'm pretty sure I lost a few ornamentals I planted last year and I've noticed that the magnolia buds emerged and then died. Crossing my fingers and toes for all of us!
    (Incidentally, my blog was hacked (yet again) so I have a (possibly temporary) new home at https://serenitysarcasm.com.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer - we are slowly healing and adjusting to the new normal so I suppose you can't ask for more than that. Oh, your poor magnolia! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too. I had noticed that both of your blogs were down and was hoping that nothing was wrong...thankfully what's wrong is cyberspace related and not anything worse. I'll definitely be checking out what you've been up to at your new "address" :)

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  9. It's truly good to see you posting! The weather has been back and forth here as well. I walked in shorts a few days ago, and today I needed a windbreaker, gloves and a neck gaiter to keep warm! Of course it could be I am just wimpy, since it was 40F at the time, though we had a brisk wind from the north. ;-)

    I generally start my sweet potatoes in water and put the jar on a sunny windowsill. But then I usually find taters that are already sprouting, so it doesn't take much to encourage them to grow!

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    1. Oh, thank's so much, Dave. I am a true cold wimp - in fact, I carry around a cardigan in the car all summer as I tend to freeze whenever I go to the mall, coffee shop, grocery store!

      No sprouts on my sweet potatoes, which I actually wouldn't have minded as then there's no guessing as to which end is up! Last year, I could feel that the jars by the kitchen window were chilly when I would go to refill them - I'm hoping placing them on the heat mat works and encourages those shoots to sprout more quickly.

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  10. I have decided not to grow sweet potatoes this year (after only moderate success last year) but definitely will do it again - just too many things on my plate this spring. I bought my starter potatoes last year from www.asterlaneedibles.ca who is very happy to assist newbies (via email) and I had a good chat with her just today at the Seedy Saturday on this subject. Best of luck!

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    1. It's best to scale back a bit than be overwhelmed by too much to do during the season...although that's often easier said than done :)

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