Lent, holy week and Easter festivals are over and today we’re back to the usual stuff. I was going to say “normal” but well, you know…
March in Minnesota was a lot like March across the rest of the country – unnaturally warm and mid-spring to early-summer -like. We broke daytime high records and many, many overnight low “highs”… or however that sentence is supposed to go together to mean “IT WAS LIKE LIVING IN KANSAS CITY OR NASHVILLE AROUND HERE.”
Perennials sprouted, leaves came out. The elm trees have already finished their disgusting bloom (achoo! thankyouverymuch) and the maples are setting their helicopter seeds as I type. I thought we might even have lilacs blooming for Easter! I’ve been cracking the whip around here at Chez Journey and the G and DS2 have blisters already from the yard clean up that’s been accomplished already. I promised myself (again this year) that the weed trees along the fence row WILL NOT WIN!
Because of the draught around here, the ground wasn’t squishy and wet and so we’ve cleaned up what passes for lawn (read: cleaned up massive amounts of dog poop. Hey! At least Libby the Wonder Poodle knows to poop OUTSIDE. Which is still more than can be said for that rat-in-a-dog-suit Snowball.)
It has been so temptingly warm during this month that I’ve even been haunting the gardening stores. And as usual, my obsession with backyard chickens has re-sprouted. I swear it’s worse that crabgrass! This year it has taken me to a new favorite store Egg|Plant where I bought a backyard chicken book and actually took a class on backyard chicken keeping. And I’ve joined several online groups (backyardchickens.com and a google group called twincitieschickens).
Don’t worry. I’m not going to take the plunge — this year. I don’t think. The biggest reality is that neither G or DS2 are in the least interested or capable of helping with this sort of adventure… and DS2 leaves in the fall for school anyway. PLUS, I don’t really want a bunch of chickens running around the backyard when everyone comes over for the graduation party — or the Sept 1 wedding of DSS1. Ok, I really kind of DO want chickens running around then, especially because it will freak so many people out – that need a good freaking out.
So, in order to slate my chicken lust, I’m focusing on growing more food in the yard. Landscaping with edible stuff and not just pretty flowers. To that end I’m planning on more veggie and fruit gardening than I’ve done before. I’ve actually started some seeds and am planning on doing this what I hope to be an easier way — following some of the examples of Gayla Trail at YouGrowGirl.com .
One of the tricks I’m making up myself is that I don’t really have a lot of horizontal space sitting around empty in the house waiting to hold flats of
seeds. And I don’t want to invest in a lot of technology – well, not lights, anyway. So when my first 1/2 flat of seeds (Cosmos and basil) popped their little heads up during the dog-days of March, I started taking the flat outside and putting on the patio table during the day.
To be honest, most of the nights have been warm enough (“lows” in the 40’s!) that I’ve left the flat out all night. But last night started a predicted week of “average” weather. Which means we’re going to be getting hard freezes at least twice this week.
As a result, I’m ever so glad I didn’t actually plant the potatoes a couple of weeks ago when the soil was warm enough and it looked like I might get another month of harvest.
And I didn’t plant some of the other veggies either — even the ones that like cold. Because really, they wouldn’t be planted around here until next week in an average year. And because I was too busy cutting up weed trees and moving compost piles. Every evening I’d think I should have done more and now all that procrastination will pay off with not having to drag big buckets of stuff into the kitchen every night. See? Aren’t I a smart northern gardener?