Garden Daybook 3/7/13

bee comb 2Greg came in after Gabby’s morning walk and showed me this! He found it on the ground under the huge maple tree in our backyard. When we moved here in 1983 we had a hive of wild bees in that old tree. Ultimately, the bees swarmed, the hive dwindled, then disappeared. This small piece of comb smells like fresh honey! Does this mean we have another hive of bees in our gorgeous old maple tree? Have raccoons raided it? I can’t wait until it warms up and bees become active. I will pay close attention to our tree and watch for bees coming and going. I don’t know that we would be able to gather any of their honey, but just knowing that bees are living in the tree would be fantastic. I know that the bees would be beneficial pollinators in the gardens. Here is our giant old maple – the bees are in the hollow – I hope.

bee tree 2

My footprint shows small patches of snow with water seeping on mushy ground. We are descending into mud season here in the country. I know that the ground will freeze again but this thaw is a sure sign that winter is losing its grip. The cold mushy mud means that we need to keep piles of old towels on the porch to wipe Gabby’s feet after every walk. I yearn for a mudroom – a small entrance room to leave muddy shoes and boots before coming into the house – it certainly would keep the kitchen floor cleaner.

spring slush March

Galanthus nivalis – Snowdrops – Common snowdrop. That name is a lie!! There is nothing common about this tiny beauty. Snowdrops announce spring just when you think you cannot wait another minute for gardening to begin. Snowdrops are always a surprise – even though you know you planted the bulbs. They bloom in the cold, even through snow. I love ’em! These were photographed by my dear friend Tomma in her yard on February 27. Thank you for sharing, Tomma! Your picture makes me smile!

tommassnowdrops

I took a walk through the vegetable garden today and found these unfortunate carrots. I didn’t mulch them last fall and the winter freezing and thawing heaved them up above the soil line. Most of them are mushy and unusable. Darn! I should know better. I don’t do things I know I should and this is where it gets me. Aaaraaugh!!

march carrots

The cold frames are looking rather shabby. The glazing loosened over the winter. You can see chunks of it on the window panes. We need to scrape out the old glazing, apply new glazing, and then repaint. This is always a chore we do not look forward to but . . . the refinished cold frames look so neat and they give the garden a look that says “A gardener lives here”.

march cold frames 1

Look what I found on my way back to the house! The pussy willows are breaking bud! WooHoo! I wish I could have gotten a better picture for you but I am still photography newbie and every close up I took was too blurry to use. I hope you can see the fuzzies breaking out of their buds. I love these plants!

March pussy willow 2013

Peppers, lettuces, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower and more have germinated well. I will begin transplanting things into individual pots later this week. I guess I better get my light tables cleaned off. This is the time of year I never have enough lighting for all the plants and the nights are too cold to move everything into the hoop house. Daytime in the hoophouse is warm and cozy but the nights are too cold. If I get things moved into the hoophouse for daytime sunlight I either have to bring them all into the house overnight, a real pain in the —, or turn on the small propane heater in the hoophouse. Using it is EXPENSIVE! I usually try to cram as many seedlings as I can under the lights in the basement for as long as I can and hope the weather turns springlike. It’s a good day when I can haul everything out to the hoophouse to stay until they can be hardened off and go into the garden.

seedlings3

This is the time of year I tell myself “Just keep your head down and keep working”. If I want to stay caught up with spring garden “have-tos” I need to focus and stay organized. Spring busyness has begun. I hope you are planning and organizing your own vegetable garden. Just keep on movin’ . . . .

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin

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