Garden Log 3-10-08: The Robins Return!

March 10, 2008

While there isn’t much to look at or write about out in the garden these days, things are slowly beginning to show promise of some spring-like changes!

Daylight Savings Time is now in effect, the temperatures are growing slightly warmer, and last week witnessed the return of the robins from their winter roosts. We could be in store for more snow and cold but at the worst it would be a matter of days or weeks compared to the months of winter that we are emerging from.

Getting in Sync with the Season

Spring Garlic PlantI’m always happy to see these early glimpses of spring, but I also feel a little guilt about the fact that I haven’t planted a single seed indoors for my spring vegetable transplants. So seed starting is definitely at the top of my to-do list this week.

I’m not alone though… it seems like the plant world is also a little behind the changing weather conditions here in Central PA. Usually gourmet garlic leaves are protruding through the leaf mulch by late February, but it’s mid-March and I haven’t noticed much new top growth from them yet.

Any Signs of Growth in Your Garden Yet?

Where are those spring bulbs and wild flowers that are usually in a rush to put on a colorful display before winter has officially come to a close? No, there isn’t much spring color showing up in my landscape so far.

Over Wintered KaleEven the cold hardy kale, collards, and other over wintered greens in the garden still appear lifeless for the most part, but I know they will start sending out new leaf growth any day now. I also haven’t noticed any sign of my perennial herbs poking their heads above the crust of the soil’s thawing surface either.

A Welcome Feathered First Sighting!

While the trees and plant life are taking their sweet time to show proof that spring is near, the birds aren’t wasting any time whatsoever. I first thought the pair of robins that I sighted last Wednesday were just “early birds,” but since then I’ve spotted more of them just about every day.

The robins seem to have arrived a lot earlier than last spring’s first arrivals. I just hope they’ve timed their migrations correctly because it’s a sad sight to watch a robin struggle to locate food and keep warm when there’s a layer of snow covering the ground.

Waiting on Spring in the Backyard Vegetable Plot

Seed Starting SuppliesI’m sure ready for spring to arrive so that I can sink my fingers into the warm earth and enjoy some pleasant outdoor temperatures. In the meantime here’s my checklist of tasks to bide the days until outdoor gardening can begin in earnest here in PA:

  • Start your heirloom vegetable transplants indoors under lights
  • Hurry to finish pruning those fruit trees, vines, and berry canes
  • Clean debris and branches from the garden beds and landscape
  • Collect fresh hardwood logs for mushroom cultivation
  • Check and clean the bird houses so that they are ready for use
  • Get those composting materials organized and ready to go
  • Cut back the ornamental grasses, butterfly bushes, etc.
  • Clean out the backyard pond and say hello to the fish
  • Take in one of the early spring garden shows or expos




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