Last Sunday I spent six hours in the garden, planting 60 hills of potatoes, 80 leeks, and 120 onions, among other things. Monday morning I had a tough time getting out of bed. But I must say the discomfort I felt was strangely gratifying, because not only did I get a lot of gardening done, I also burned a lot of calories. Just how many calories, you ask?
The other night my son asked me if it was time to plant potatoes. I paused momentarily to soak in the pride I felt knowing that he, along with his younger brother, have made gardening a part of their lives. (I’m sure their sister will do likewise once she moves out of her tiny apartment in Queens, NY.) Then I turned to him and said, “Check the four-inch soil temperature.”
In the past few weeks, I’ve repeatedly heard the claim that the recent snap of cold weather means the bugs won’t be bad this year. The idea of course is that bugs can’t survive prolonged cold temperatures and therefore their populations will be greatly reduced if not eliminated entirely. But does that claim have any basis in fact?
I know. It’s been colder than a well-digger’s foot lately, and for that reason I haven’t spent much time in the garden since the holidays. But I have been thinking a lot about my garden and trying to imagine what changes I want to make once the weather warms up. And thankfully, finally, it looks as though it’s about to do just that.
When it comes to spring-flowering bulbs, the stars of the show are daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and hyacinths. But the supporting cast of players, although less familiar, are no less beautiful and deserve a spot in every garden. So when shopping for bulbs this month, you owe it to yourself to consider the following, all of which are easy to grow and come back year after year.
Every year for the past 30 years or more, I’ve tried to convince my friends and fellow gardeners that now is the perfect time to plant all kinds of things. So here I go again. But to be clear, I’m not talking about things that most folks know to plant in fall – mums, pansies, asters, ornamental kale and cabbage, cool-season veggies, fescue and rye grasses, spring-flowering bulbs – the stuff that practically defines fall planting. I’m talking about practically everything else, in particular trees, shrubs, and perennials.