We have had an unusually warm winter this year, including several days of highs in the 50s. But winter is not over! I went back to wearing my winter coat this weekend, and we are expecting snow tonight and tomorrow. The predicted low in a couple days is 10 degrees. This is worrisome to all in our area who have seen plants start to pop up and grow buds much earlier than normal for our area. Everyone is asking what they should do to protect their plants.
Of course, I’m not going to do anything for the snowdrops pictured at the top of this post. After all, it’s their job to bloom when it’s cold and snowy. What may surprise you is that I’m not going to do anything for the other plants that have started popping up–not even those wonderful Gladiator bulbs that I planted just last fall. (Yes, I was quite thrilled to find them on clearance and finally add these purple beauties to my garden. I do hope they’ll still grow and bloom this year.) All I did was put back the black plastic covers that had blown off several vegetable beds and put the cover on my grill.
The main reason I’ve decided to do nothing is that I’m a lazy gardener–at least when it comes to my ornamentals. In the fall when I have tender vegetables and herbs out there, you may see me covering things up as I try to prolong the harvest. I’ll even cover up or bring inside a good number of ornamental containers to keep the flower bestrewn deck looking as good as possible. But right now, I’m more concerned about my indoor gardening progress. I just don’t want to mess around with these silly plants outside that don’t realize winter is far from over. Come on, kids: we’ve had BLIZZARDS in APRIL!
By the way, this is how things looked outside three years ago TODAY (3/12/17).
Another reason I’ve decided to do nothing now is that this coming snow is actually going protect my plants when the temperature dips even lower afterwards. Why should I work to cover everything when nature is going to do it for me? As for what the weather will do after that–well, I can’t predict it or stop it. Will everything bloom as normal this spring? Probably not! I doubt those Tete-a-Tete daffodils that have already developed buds are going to make it into bloom this year. If any of those buds had opened up and bloomed already (some of my friends’ daffodils have), I’d bring them inside as cut flowers. Or leave them! Like the snowdrops, flowers that bloom in early spring should be able handle some snow and cold.
Early Spring Clean Up
I’m not sorry we’ve had a warm winter, and I’m not sorry I got a jump on my spring garden clean up a couple weeks ago. I know, I know–I could’ve left the dried plant material out there longer as another layer of protection. Since I always have a lot of work to do with the kitchen garden in spring, I decided it was worth the risk to get some clean up done now. I cleaned up both the herb bed and the front yard perennial garden, leaving only the dried hydrangeas for continued winter interest.
I also finally got around to using the pile of mulch from the ash tree we had cut down. As planned, I put it all in the asparagus bed. It has been out there so long that the mulch has broken down and looks like compost. And now the area where the mulch had been sitting, on top of tarp, is all cleared of grass and weeds. It’s ready to plant this spring–or whenever I can get around to it. I’d like to put some large hostas back here. Little by little, I’ll keep adding onto this bed.
It probably would have been good to add more mulch around those gladiator bulbs and the other things I planted last fall. (If you planted anything new last summer or fall and didn’t mulch it yet, now would be a good time.) I can never do everything that would be good to do for my garden. I did the things that I was inclined to do and that I had time to do. We’ll see how it all turns out this year.
Normal Winter Tasks
Meanwhile, I’ve been carrying on with my usual winter gardening–and falling behind in my usual way, too. I brought many plants inside to overwinter. I made more ornamental containers for outdoors. I have continued cooking and using the wonderful harvest from my garden. I’ve begun seed starting and taking cuttings, and this year I tried a little winter sowing, too. I’d like to record more details about those activities, but I’ll have to save that for another post.
This has been a strange winter, and time will tell how it will affect our gardens this year. I’m thankful for what I was able to do, and I won’t fret over this next round of snow and cold. It is what it is! Keep calm and garden on.
Post-Snow Update – 3/13/17
For any who are curious, I took a few pictures today after the snow. It was a very light snow. I hope it’s enough to protect my plants when the lows go down to 10-15 degrees!
I also took a photo of the kitchen garden. It looks like one of the bed covers I put back yesterday has opened back up a little. We had high winds a while back that had pulled off several of the black plastic covers stapled to the vegetable beds. I covered them back up yesterday and tried to weight them down with whatever was handy.
Meanwhile inside the house today I did one small seed starting project (potting the first tomato sprouts up into cell packs). I’m also getting the inside of my house decorated for spring. Goodbye, snowmen! Hello, chickens!