March 4, 2009
March is the cruelest month. Great words of wisdom. As I sit here on Monday writing this column, the snow is coming down. This past Friday, the temperatures reached 60 degrees. Snow was melting and we could see the ground. People were calling the store to see if we had pansies yet. Today, we have had 10 inches of snow and it is still coming down. I would be willing to bet the customers who wanted pansies are happy they didn’t get the pansies and put them in the ground. Ah, yes, March is the cruelest month.
The question is, what can the antsy gardener do until the snow melts? Preparation. Wouldn’t you be happy to have a dollar for every time you started a gardening project and found out that there was a key item you need missing or broken? Let’s start with the tools. Do you know where all the gardening tools are? Gather up all the tools and get the tools sharpened. The shovel and the grass edger work best when they have a sharp edge. Use a file to sharpen those tools. Pruners, loping shears and garden shears all work best when they are sharp. If you look at the cutting edge of these tools, the cutting edge will have a flat side and a beveled side. The beveled side is the side you want to sharpen. Use a sharpening stone or a fine tooth file to sharpen only the beveled edge. Keep the file at the proper angle so that you are following the angle of the bevel.
Where is the fertilizer spreader? Did you clean it last fall after you put down the final feeding? I didn’t think so! As soon as you can get a hose hooked up outside, wash the interior and the exterior of the spreader. Once it has dried, use a silicon spray to lubricate the wheels and any cables and cable connections. If you have a drop spreader, make sure to lubricate the long bar that runs along the bottom of the spreader. Spreader need to be calibrated to allow you to put down the correct amount of fertilizer. If the spreader is out of calibration, you can easily burn the grass by putting down too much fertilizer. Check the owners’ manual that came with the spreader for directions on how to properly calibrate your spreader. If you didn’t save the owners manual, you need to take a time out and go stand in the corner to think about what you have done. Then go online and see if the manufacturer of your spreader has an online copy of the manual for your spreader. I am always amazed at how many companies have the manual online. Yes, I spend many hours in the time out corner thinking about what I have done.
If you take some time to think about what you need for your gardens, you can get any new items now and have them ready for the spring. Once the snow is gone you can fix the fence around the garden, trim back those over grown rose bushes and many other chores that can be done even when it is still cold outside.
If you prepare now for the gardening season ( Yes spring will come, it has for a few million years ) you will be able to get outside and do the gardening chores in an organized manner.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.