El Nino and Wrong Season Blooms

Out of Season Blooms and Winter Storm Jonas

Several of our landscape Spring Bloomers were popping out mostly on the upper SW sides of the trees, not to mention, bulbs, Hydrangeas, Forsythia, and the list goes on, depending on your exposure.
So what can we expect in the coming season, especially with this past weeks big snow? It’s kinda simple really. Those “pre-bloomers”, were just showing off. We’ve had a lot of rain, which leached the nutrients down past most root beds. So, putting the plant in a “distress” situation, it needed to partially leaf, for Photosynthesis, then bloom… They will recover, because they need to leaf, bloom, produce, in the coming, “Right” season.

Keep in mind, snow is loaded with Nitrogen, as well as a thermal, slow irrigating, part of gardening. Worst part about it really, is going to be an abundance of Dandelions. See, they have a deep taproot, that brings Nitrogen from the deeps, back to the top of your soil beds. It’s their job, even if the seeds were dormant, for up to 7 years!!! Clover on the other hand, may be actually less, because that “plant” corrects the lack of Nitrogen in the soil. Well, I think we got plenty from Jonas. Weeds can tell you a lot about soil conditions. For a great PDF chart, this may help make sense, before you spray!!
Spring Blooming live goods will be OK, maybe even more prolific than normal, depending on the coming “La Nina”, which usually follows a powerful “El Nino” like we are experiencing now. Warm Wet Baby with a coming Cool Dry Baby, may impact some of the “self pollinizing” plants and trees, but still, may also have you picking way more than you think. It’s a Ma Nature Timing thing. Remember last year, “Polar Vortex” we had some trees actually rupturing at the base in mid March, due to the fact, they were coming into season, pulling up moisture, budding, and then some minus 0 wind chills, made the lower trunks freeze, and explode. Same with Japonica Camellias and a few early blooming Rhodo’s and big buds rupturing. So be happy, your “early-out-of-season-bloomers”, did so, proving they are also anxious to perform this year.

Just make sure you are still keeping up your Winter chores, as well as documenting it in your Garden Journals, at least with digital pics with a time date stamp accurately showing the “mis-fire”. If some new shoots got burned with the Winter temps, prune as you would normally during the “right” season, to make them come on again. Remember, “They have to”… They just do.

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Trial Thingy with Seeds

OK, you may think I am jumping the gun on timing here, but I have been saving Dryer Lint the whole Winter. I didn’t know why, but it hit me today, of, why… I started some Tomato seeds in my garage, some in regular starting mix, and a few in, well, Dryer Lint…  I used to put it out for the birds, and they haven’t been that active in the ball of lint this year, I think they were smarter than me, and went South.. WAY south! But the Crows! Oh man I have never seen so many here.. Quick! What Phenological reason is there for Crows massing up?

So I have this supply of clothes mulch leftovers, from the dryer.. So I’m thinkin’, veggies….  A few pots, I used it as mulch, a few, I used as the media, a few, I used straight soil…  Whats next, the stuff I get off the top of the ceiling fan? There’s some good stuff there too.. Somehow, I like to think the matter is a part of me.. John Travolta in the “Phenomenon”? The apple bite? Take it with you through eternity? I need to go check the vacuum cleaner. There may be gold in there too, plus a marble and a green Army Man or two, thanks, Jake.. I mean, You aren’t eating the floor debris, although the ten second rule may need a re-config here on growing from the root.. I dunno. I’ll let NASA figure that one out.

OK, Hell, they’re just Tomatoes and Egg Plant.. We’ll see who does best or the same or fails… I will let you all know.. But make NO mistake about it, I will eat it if it grows out of my shoe, as long as I know, it was my shoe…. I will keep them separate, for those who know me. When I bring you veggies, I will give you the ones from dirt and cow manure, like that makes it tastier…  I will enjoy the ones in the lint.

Merry Christmas

My Gentle Snowflakes, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. I will.. See, this is the shortest hours of daylight this week. On Christmas Day, we gain one minute back of daylight, and that in itself, is a gift to me. We get one more per day until like the 21st of January, when it starts skipping to 2 minutes a day. On that day, it is the same as November 21st. Same hours of daylight/darkness. We are at 9hrs 34min now of daylight, the last part of June, we are at 14hrs 45mins of wonderful daylight. There are a lot of minutes in the 24 hr day, I just hate when they are mostly “dark” minutes”.

Now, there is a lot to start thinking about soon. We need to start planning when to lime our lawns in January, prune back roses and ornamental grasses in February, Put down preventers in March as well as solarize vegetable gardens. Seed starting indoors, well what else can you do? It will get busy here in my home again very soon. Yeah, I love when the days get longer. I can only clean my house but so much. I want outside!

What else is there.. Ah yes, pruning Crape Myrtles in March, forgot that. Oh, planting Bare Root Roses in February, and B&B trees and shrubs. Get that compost turned in late Winter will speed things up a bit. Seeing steam in the mornings in that pile? Congrats, you are making “dirt”. Ma Nature will be proud. When April 15th gets here, we will be off the leash in our landscapes again. Start toning up your gardening muscles before hand. Get that logbook out and review last years pics, remember the heat last year, just think in your mind, it could happen again, so plan out your irrigation early, get those soaker hoses in place before the onset of growth happens. Drip irrigation systems? A wonderful thing to have.

Yeah, it’s coming. Thanks Laurie, for making me get that mental visualization of picking a ripe Tomato the other day. I could smell it, see it, taste it. I felt the warm soil under my bare feet. I saw other yellow blooms on the vine. I got mad, because I mentally, forgot the salt shaker…. It needs to get here soon.

So, Merry Christmas folks, I hope you and yours get everything you want in the coming year.

Forsythia : Love/Hate Relationship

When I was younger (waaayy younger), my days of getting with my friends over a typical Saturday pick-up football game, would be suddenly halted by the dreaded words of “yard work”. Now these games were always planned from Monday, through the week by my friends on when, where, who, etc… We were, afterall, living the life of our beloved football jerseys which we wore constantly. We got them for birthdays, Christmas, etc. We all were pro’s ourselves when the numbered, colored jerseys were on our backs. We were fearless, until….

“I need you to help with cutting down the Yellow Bells in Nannies yard”, AAARRRGGG!!! Not today, please! …but the game….  Now I always knew it would be a losing argument, but a kid of 14 almost needs to keep the defiance going, only to lose by default. I would always picture the game waiting on me to show up, well because, afterall, I wore the jersey of Alan Page from the 70’s Viking era… They needed me to make spectacular plays along with Csonka, Butkis,Riggins, Bilitnikoff, whatever….  Yeah, I was hatin’ Forsythia.

Now, as time wore on through my life, grew up, moved on, every time I saw Forsythia, I shuddered to myself of the entire days used up cutting back this dreadful shrub. The whip injuries, sweat, held back tears of not getting to play football with my buds… Yep, a good thing to hate. Now that I am older (waaaayy older), I have grown to cherish the nemesis. I was fortunate enough to acquire my Grandparents home after their passing. The Forsythia, still there. I now respect it’s worth.

I can tell time with Forsythia in a phenological way. See, when Forsythia blooms, things are happening. I am also one of those anal folks who watch the addition of minutes of daylight form around January 3rd and on. When we are getting 2 minutes a day, I get really energized. As of this posting, we have gained over a half an hour, and I feel it. Soon, I will get my soil temp probe out to see what is right. The angle of the sun is rocketing overhead now. Here’s the skinny on the poop on Forsythia. When Forsythia blooms, then the soil temp has been 58 degrees at 4 inches for 5 days straight. Most of your seedling weeds and annuals start to germinate with this same scenario at 7 days… Hmm. Forsythia is my friend. I then know when to put down my pre-emergent on my lawn and in my beds. I know to check my Hostas and Sedums, along with my Hardy Bananas and to feed them for the season. In just a couple of days, it will be time to solarize my vegetable garden for April planting. Furthermore, in a few weeks, the Oak leaves will be the size of a squirrels ear, time to plant my corn….

OK. For someone who loathed this vile shrub in the past, I can say, “Thanks Nanny, for shoving this wicked plant down my throat now and then”. I get cuttings every year from my yard, and they are in bloom, now, in my home, just to remind me of my Grandparents, and times I should have paid more attention to my surroundings, but, I truly could make those fantastic plays with that old jersey…  It is time again to pay attention.