This morning while walking the dog around the ponds near our house, I heard a chorus of squeaks and peeps. The spring peepers are finally singing. This is late for them, but within the range of when peepers herald spring. Phenology — the study of nature signs — recommends that peas be planted when the spring peepers start singing. I planted mine yesterday. How about you? What have you planted? Do you use nature signs to determine when to put in your garden?
The truly unpleasant weather we’ve experienced the past few weeks — snow flurries on May 2 with constant winds above 15 mph, no thank you! — has put me a little behind in my garden chores. I’ve been nurturing along my seedlings indoors, some of which would prefer to be in the ground now, and on Sunday, I spent a couple of hours working on my new compost bin, but otherwise, trips into the garden have been short, perfunctory and not that enjoyable.
The weather dudes are predicted an extended streak of temps in the 60s for the rest of the week. Rain, of course, is also predicted, but I can work around that. So, the question becomes, what are the priorities?
I often refer to Melinda Myers’ Month-by-Month Gardening in Minnesota when I’m in a what-to-do frenzy, and more recently, I’ve been checking out Margaret Roach’s Away to Garden blog for her lists. She’s a couple of zones ahead of us, so I consulted her April list for things to do in May. It’s not a perfect match, but she has lots of ideas, so you can pick and choose.
What are my priorities for the week and weekend ahead?
- Get out my lettuce starts and seed other cool-season vegetables;
- Set up my new compost bin;
- Haul branches to the compost pile in Northfield and pick up a load of compost to spread on the gardens;
- Edge three of the flower beds where grass tends to invade;
- Prune or cut back perennials that need it and apply a little fertilizer to them.
What will you be doing now that the weather is improving?
The spring bulbs are slowly starting to bloom. On Sunday, I noticed the fritillaria, a small, but unusually colored bulb was blooming. Monday, the daffodils that brighten up my raspberry bed also opened up. In the dim light before sunset, they seemed especially cheerful. The tulips in front remain shut tight, but one pleasant aspect of this slow spring is that the Siberian squill are having a long bloom season. A few yards in the older part of my town are a sea of blue blooms this time of year.
From left to right above are: Red twig dogwood leaves about to unfurl, a catkin on a willow, and buds of a ‘Bali’ cherry tree. The dogwood and cherry are in my yard, but the willow is on the bank of a stream near our house. Willows are part of the genus Salix, which includes about 400 species. I don’t know which this is, but like most willows, it grows well in moist soil.
What buds are about to break open in your garden?
It was so exciting to see a trio of bees really working over the crocus in my front yard this afternoon. Other bees were gathering pollen from my neighbor’s patch of crocus. If you blow up the more horizontal picture below, you can see the bee’s back covered in pollen.
Yahoo! Another sign of spring.
I was poking around the front yard this morning, trying to minimize any stepping on the yard or gardens, and what should be showing itself now that the snow has melted: Tulip leaves. A good sign to see in the last few days of winter.