Friday, March 20, 2009

What to Do Now?

KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are proud to tell you that KCB rules as the 2008 Maine Master Gardener of the Year. And we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.

I am panic-stricken!

Winter in Maine seems to drag then suddenly spring sprints forward. The fact that daylight savings time started earlier this year than any time in my gardening history is more proof that spring is only weeks away, at least according to the calendar. (NOTE: This is not the earliest DST; during the energy crisis of the 70’s daylight savings time began January 6 in 1974 and February 23 in 1974.)

I’m not ready!

True! I long to be out of doors, assisting Mother Nature in creating and maintaining her beauty, to sweat and be dirty and, ultimately, to earn my keep. Still….

I need more time, please!

Can the groundhog crawl back in his hole only to reemerge and either see or not see his shadow? I never really did get what difference it meant either way. Nevertheless if one or the other will buy more time than I am all for it.

Feeling Frenzied!

Yes, I realize that the Vernal Equinox just happened on March 20 EDT. Just hold off for another week or 2.

Honing in on hysterics!

Why? Taxes. Dreaded Taxes. In less than a week, I must compile a year’s worth of paperwork for the poor soul who attempts to make sense of all my receipts and notes. We last met on January 3rd. I figured I’d start the New Year right. This year I’d be any accountants delight. He gave me a list, we both checked it twice and I vowed to be oh so not naughty but nice. Still or procrastinate.

In any event, when I should be having visions of pruning roses, cleaning beds of winters debris and sharpening of tools, I am inundated with the horrors of receipts of yellow, or white. Bank statements, invoices and sub-contractor bills.

It is my burden to bear. No need to tax you any further. Hmmmm... Is it a coincidence that tax and burden are synonyms? I think not!

In an effort to push all negative thoughts and piles of paperwork away, I will prepare for something else. The gardening season.

Most of what I about to say you know, either by reading my writings of last year, other publications and media or from just self-awareness. Yet, we all could use a reminder now and then.

*First, take a walk around your property. Doing so is helpful for garden and gardener. Walking is one of the best ways to begin your spring training for marathon gardening. Bring a friend, a pet, or both. In any case, bring your garden journal.

*Remove or at least pull from your garden beds any branches or limbs that may have fallen over the winter. As your ornamentals wake and push thru the earth, they will thank you. Would you want to wake with the equivalent of a 40-foot maple on top of you?

*Check and make note of any winter damage especially the inside of shrubs. Often dead branches can be overlooked once the shrub is in full leaf or bloom.

*Gently clear away any leaves or debris from the base of plants that has accumulated over the winter. Patience is key, as you will need to wait until the layers have thawed. Do not be too aggressive as to damage any new growth or seedlings. Hand clearing is best and if done in stages the effort is minimal. The sooner we get to this the less hiding places for slugs and other pests.

*Remind your self that no matter what the calendar may say, it is still March in Maine so…….

~Avoid removing any winter protection or fencing too soon.
~Straighten or remove if the protection is interfering with the shrub or tree*
~Don’t be in a rush to pull away any mounded protection of mulch or compost. *
~Don’t prune roses too soon. *

*Topics to be revisited in future writings.
There may be those whose property isn’t ready to be ‘walked around’. Alternatively, you may not be ready. Nevertheless, there is one thing we all should do; Check your tools.

If they weren’t sharpened upon retiring them for the winter, now is the second most perfect time. We have all been there; ready to prune our roses, or cut back spent foliage and stems with the only action being the bending of the target. Your efforts only produced a partial or worse no cut. While, you attempt to finish the job with your hand some of the bark or outer layer is peeled away. You are faced with potential damage due to disease or instinct.

The latter is as scary as my upcoming meeting with my bookkeeper.

My heart is racing!

There is so much more I could add, but I do not want to get ahead of myself. We still have time.

Unlike my taxes………………….

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
March 20, 2009

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