Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Guarantees

The gardening expert who writes for our local paper apparently has tired of gardening topics, as she had in previous years. One of her recent columns addressed "The Donald," of all things. A few years ago she warned us against getting ants in our pants, when I was sowing what I would happily reap in May and June.

Now is when Spring gardening begins. Fail to take advantage of the opportunities and you'll be the one griping "this Spring was too wet." We had a window of a day or two this week, following our big snow a week ago Monday. Now it's raining cats and dogs, so anyone who didn't seize the moment will have to wait a while longer.

I've come to the conclusion that successful gardening, like farming and many of the other good things in life, comes to those who work hard when the working's good. Sit on the couch and someone else will grab the worm.

I've heard that our magic date for pea planting is February 24, sort of like March 17 (St. Patrick's Day) for potatoes. I missed February 24th because the ground was too wet, but I've planted around it -- Wandos on February 18, the day before our one snowstorm for this winter, Laxton's on February 27, and Telephones and Super Sugar Snaps February 28. Now it's raining and I'm happy.

I also tossed in some lettuces and beets. It may still be early for beets, but with the unseasonably warm weather of this winter, waiting longer might seem a big mistake in April or May if temperatures prematurely hit the nineties. We recently attended an agricultural extension service meeting on broccoli, where several people suggested that our frost-free date has moved forward a week or more from the May 15 date our grandparents stuck in our minds. I won't test it by transplanting tomato plants into the garden much before then. Besides, the weather's been so weird we might have snow on Memorial Day, which means I'll hold some back even then. The "frost-free" date is no guarantee, never has been.

Guarantee? Not too much in life is guaranteed. Once upon a time, not so long ago, several banks ran ad campaigns guaranteeing free checking for life. In part because of the fallout from that experience, those of us who review bank advertising generally put the kibosh on attempts to "guarantee" terms. For some reason, this reminds me of certificate of deposit campaigns tying interest rates to the performance of a local sports team. Maybe Elk Cliff Bank will run a rural promo promising a higher CD rate if Jack Frost visits after May 15.

"Sign me up!" says Virginia.

She's a lucky woman. She had no reason to know it, no one ever told her, but she satisfied the conditions to inherit land from her grandfather just in time. If the "Frosted CD" sounds good to her, you might want to follow her lead.

I need to pay attention to Dorothy, who told me last night that around here we start tomato seeds inside on February 14, Valentine's Day. I'm late.

No comments:

Post a Comment