Monday, April 19, 2010

~* Garden Gumption *~ Post #3

~* Garden Gumption *~
(Post #3)
'Tis the Season for Spring! -- Or Is It?!

Every morning my son and I (and my husband when he is not working) enjoy eating our breakfast at the kitchen table so we can enjoy the view of the river (or lack there of now that the leaves on the trees are coming out), the warmth of the sunshine, and the sound of the birds chirping. Ahh, yes! The simple joys of Spring!!

But wait a minute.....Is it REALLY Spring??

To be honest, I haven't been quite sure! The calendar says it's Spring. The perennials in my backyard and along side my house give me the idea that Spring is here! But then, why am I forced to have my son wear sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a winter jacket when he wants to play outside one day so he doesn't FREEZE, and then have him wear just a pair of shorts and a T-shirt the next day so that he doesn't SWEAT?  Have any of you been experiencing this same issue?  And the sad part is, I'm not exagerrating (Believe me, I wish I was!)  The other week, the temperatures literally went as follows: 91, 50, snow over night, 42, 66, 76. (Lucky for me my lettuce, tomato and cabbage plants that I had transplanted from my indoor garden to my outdoor garden all survived!!)

So, I'd like to ask.....what's a girl to do when the weather keeps fluctuating and she's trying to get all of her yard cleaned up, her vegetable and flower gardens in shape?  Here's a few things I came up with:

1.) PLASTIC!! -- On those chilly nights (and especially that night where we had a 1/2 inch of snow! Thank goodness it melted before morning was through that day!) I covered my plants with plastic, or to be more specific,  the plastic lids that came with my indoor garden planters. My husband suggested that since the garden area we created is more like a "box" dug out of the bank, he could've bought some cheap rolls of plastic and tacked it down so that it laid over the top of the garden, creating one big cover. (You can see a picture of our main vegetable garden area in Garden Gumption Post #2.)  I've also read about creating plastic "lids" or boxes to put over your plants on cooler evengings so that the heat from the day can keep the plants warm. There's an example in Mel Bartholomew's book about square foot gardening (Check out the link for his book that I have posted in Garden Gumption Post #1. I found a copy at my local library.)  So yes, PLASTIC, can be very useful to us amatuer gardeners!

2.) DRESS in LAYERS!! -- On some days, and today would be a good example of this, it feels as though it might start snowing at any minute. Ok, so that's actually an exaggeration for today's weather, but I did feel like we traveled back in time to February again!  So....oh yeah, dressing in layers! On the days where the weather starts out cold, warms up in the middle and then gets cold in the evenings (typical Spring/Fall kind of weather), I dress my toddler and myself in layers. This eliminates the hassle of having the two of us trecking in and out of the house throughout the course of the day to change into various outfits in order to accommodate whatever temperature Mother Nature decides to throw at us. ESPECIALLY if you are trying to accomplish things outside and a trip into the house to change clothes opens up a whole new can of worms with the 2-year-old boy not wanting to go in, and then once in, not wanting to go back out. Make it easier on yourself! It's better to pause in your outdoor work or play time to take off a jacket or a sweatshirt and have a T-shirt underneath rather than to go through the ordeal just mentioned. (I do this NOW and it's sooooo much easier for all involved!)

And last but not least,

3.) WATER! -- For you and your plants.
For You:  When working or playing outside and enjoying the fresh air and sunlight, make sure you at least take a bottle of water out with you. It may not be 90 degrees outside, but you'd be surprised how much water you (and the kiddos if they're playing or helping you) need to replenish. Take a break now and then to take a gulp or two. It will also help you keep refreshed and ready to do more!
For your Plants: I try to water my plants 2 times a day -- depending on the weather of course! If it rains that morning, and the grown is still soggy or pretty moist by the day's end, I'm probably not going to water my veggies or perrenials. If the weather is going to be rather cold in the evening, I'll give my plants a "drink", but am careful not to give them too much. That way if it gets cold enough for the water to freeze a bit, I don't have water freezing to my plant roots or the tender leaves and buds.  If the day's temperature creeps up to the much warmer weather (especially since my garden is located in a very sunny location), I spray my plants with the garden hose early in the morning and then again in the evening befoe the sun goes down. Note: Try to avoid getting the plants/leaves wet! They could burn up in the sun!  You'd be surprised how much this little watering schedule will help your plants grow!!

So, there you have it. Even though Mother Nature might try to tease us a bit with her fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions, we can all manage to enjoy Spring without too much hassle!!  I know I am!!

Well, I better get back outside! My father-in-law gave us some hostas plants to add to our backyard area, and I need to get started on that project before it gets too late in the day! Feel free to leave a comment about your own gardens or gardening ideas! I would love to hear from you!

~*Happy Gardening!!*~

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