Bored in February

I feel like I should be doing something. There’s been no real snow to speak of and it’s dicey to tramp around on the soggy ground – and just forget about wandering into the beds. I don’t want to smash the soil. But fortunately I can see quite a bit from the patio and walkways. I am scouting for any premature growth, heaved up plants, or rabbit damage. None so far that’s of any consequence. Last fall I caged the little serviceberry because of all my current shrubs, THAT one is apparently irresistible to rabbits and it was in real danger of demise from constant nibbling.

So, nothing doing outside, and that’s good. Once the ground freezes up again I will do a little corrective pruning on some of my trees (and maybe my daughter’s) but not on spring bloomers. I like to coppice my Cotinus shrubs so they get 10′ tall with huge leaves. I might as well do that as soon as I can. Last year I used the resulting straight branches as tripods for peas and beans. They really weren’t strong enough for beans, but peas were fine.

I inventoried all my seeds and then ordered even more because I have a serious control problem. Last fall I planted garlic all down the middle of one shady section of my garden because it just got to be too much area. Now I am eyeballing that section and I realized I have plenty of room there to plant greens and root crops that don’t need so much sun. But where can I put 8-10 tomatoes and 16 +/- pepper and chile plants? They’ve got to have all the sun I can give them. Believe me, I’ve tried cutting corners on that and they don’t produce enough to earn their keep. But this year, I’m going to tie those tomatoes to one stake each and prune them properly, I promise! No more messy plants in the tomato section. Hopefully. I may have to cut down on the pepper varieties so I can fit everything in. And then, where will the cukes and melons go? Up in the air somewhere.

These are the puzzles that entertain me when I can’t do anything in the soil outside.


Author: claytoniaspeaks

Gardening enthusiastically in the western burbs of Chicagoland. Former owner of Fraser Landscapes. I love to share the joys of vegetable and perennial gardening with children and adults. Facilitating the Garden at Congregation Beth Shalom in Naperville IL.

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