My chicken manure compost pile last Sunday:
No, that’s not some sort of composting fungus nor is it a candy sugar coating. It’s snow!
Someone changed the calendar page back to March this past week. We had precipitation every day. That precipitation ran the gamut: rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Thursday morning the metro train I take to work downtown had to stop running for several hours while crews cleaned ice off the power lines. Then it snowed all day and there was thunder and lightening during the snowstorm. We got about 5 inches of snow (12.7 cm) and that was just the snow that stuck. And it isn’t melting!
Needless to say no gardening happened except for the indoor kind that takes place while sitting. The indoor gardening involved working on my list of plants to buy at next month’s plant sale.
Also, some Google time looking up how to divide horseradish — one of my husband’s coworkers has an overgrown patch and offered to give us some if we could tell him how to divide it. Bookman was very excited by the prospect. I had no idea he liked horseradish so much. I mean, we’ve been living together for over twenty years and I can only recall him ever buying horseradish anything once or twice. And when we talk about stuff to grow in the garden, he has never suggested we try horseradish. So I am baffled by his enthusiasm. But it is a pretty plant and I am sure once it is established Bookman will create some yummy dishes for us with it.
The non-gardening week was rounded off by reading Newspaper, Pennies, Cardboard, and Eggs for Growing a Better Garden. I borrowed this book from the library after reading JenClair’s not long ago gardening post. It’s a pretty good book with lots of gardening tips and tricks in it. There is quite a bit of information on seed saving which is always helpful. We are purposely buying only heirloom tomato varieties this year so we can save seeds from them if we like them.
The book also has great information about paying attention to what your plants are telling you as well as your weeds. Legumes aren’t doing well? Probably have insufficient potassium levels in the soil. Have lots of black medic, spurge, and purslane weeds growing? They generally indicate low levels of nitrogen.
There is information about composting, soil pH, blueberries, bulbs, watering, pests, extending the growing season, succession planting, and cover crops. There are tips on how to make hot peppers hotter, on harvesting your veggies, on dividing perennials and pruning trees, shrubs and roses. There is an entire chapter devoted to herbs. And of course, there is lots of advice on making garden work easier from building a variety of trellises and screens to the best tools to use for various tasks. A very useful book! I highly recommend it for both new and experienced gardeners.
The other books JenClair mentions in her gardening post I also requested from the library and should have them this week.
Which is good because the forecast is for rain mostly every day. But at least it is rain (so far) with no dark hints at more snow. With luck, by the end of the week the April showers will take a break for a few days so we can dry out a bit and do some outdoor work before more rain moves in.
Chaucer T.S. Eliot was right. April is the cruelest month.