Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tempus putationis advenit

The time of pruning has come.

Only in certain biblical translations, apparently; I am not inclined at the moment to look up the history, but Song of Solomon 2 as I was accustomed to reading it talked about the time of singing, and the voice of the turtle and all that.  Pruning actually makes more sense in context.  Anyway, I heard a lovely rendition of Pablo Casals' "Nigra sum" which includes parts of SoS2 at a concert at the National Cathedral the other night.  Ergo, pruning.  Which I am not actually doing, and I'm not sure it's not too late for all those things you're supposed to prune in the winter.  The winter is past; the rain is over and gone.  (Well, not that last part.)

Extraordinary numbers of things are blooming, which I will be sure to post about in two days.  I was down in DC this morning and all the hyacinths were out.  Not quite here yet, but any day now.  Species tulips are starting; those come long before the regular tulips.  More and more daffodils.  Magnolias, oh dear (they will be frozen for sure).

This is the "haven't made a post in a while" post, so you get no photos and a quick list of what I've been up to.

1) Taught my class on Saturday, which went very well aside from the last-minute dash home when the flash drive I'd brought along with the PowerPoint inexplicably failed to work.  Thank goodness for able assistants.  I will be the assistant at the next class in two weeks (container gardening).

2) Have used all my available space under lights for seedlings, and how, so I am trying to put together this mini-greenhouse thing for the deck.  No, not the one with the zippered plastic cover; I bought one of those a few years back, and the zipper broke in the first year, and I velcroed it together well enough to sort of do the job for a few years more, but last summer the whole thing (well, the top two-thirds of it) blew over and scattered plant material about and what was left of it went in the trash (except for the metal uprights which are now plant stakes in the garden).  The new thing is possibly an equal waste of money - it does incorporate metal and polycarbonate panels, and may work okay once it's constructed, but it has the WORST instructions I have ever encountered (makes Ikea furniture instructions look like works of genius from another planet entirely) and even when you have figured out what they mean they don't make sense, and have to be reordered.  If I don't go insane trying, I will have it together by tomorrow, and can put my brassica seedlings outside (in 75 degree temperatures, which will probably kill them).  And then I can plant some tomatoes.  And more peppers, since the germination rate on the earlier lot sucked.

3) Went over to the demo garden yesterday to plant peas and onions, and was working away when I looked around and realized there was a cat in the garden.  Strolled down to the building to inform the receptionist, and then saw a "don't let the cat in" sign on the door and learned that she belongs on the farm (our garden, and the Extension offices, are in a county park that celebrates agricultural heritage, along with complicating jurisdictions) although she's supposed to live in the barn and, I assume, catch rodents.  We have a sizable population of chipmunks and rabbits in and around the garden, so I hope she'll be back.  Also, she is extremely pettable for a farm cat.

The peas will probably also die in this heat, if the rabbits don't eat them first.  (Almost all the holes in the fence are fixed.  Almost is not enough.)

4) Things that are blooming include trees that make pollen I'm allergic to.  Pollen counts are 100+ times as high as they usually are in mid-March (they'd be there in a few weeks anyway, but a few weeks make a difference).  No wonder I've felt sick for the last month and more.  I am having near-daily migraines, too.  This may wreak complete havoc with my plans for the growing season (of course, I was hardly going to accomplish everything I'd planned anyway).

5) On the other hand, the first shorts-days are always fun, even when they come this early.  We will have rain and cold still to come, but I do think winter is decidedly over and done.  Such as it was.

More soon.

ETA: I have decided to return the greenhouse.  It really is a piece of crap, pardon my Latin.  For reference, it's the Hot House Haven 3 by EarthCare Greenhouses.  Don't buy it.  I'm not sure what to do now, though, since I have seedlings to go outside that need protection (from squirrels as well as the elements).  I can rig up something with row cover in the garden, I guess, but I'll forget to water them.

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