What to plant when the weather is so fickle

Spring is almost here- but most Americans will look out  their windows to just see snow. There is the old saying that tells gardeners to plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day or the first day of Spring. If there is snow and ice on the ground or the soil is still frozen, what is a gardener supposed to do?

Well, one can start planting seeds indoors (see here), which might be the best option. Since peas really need cool weather to grow, hopefully the snow will soon melt and your ground will thaw and as soon as that happens, you will be ready and able to plant the seeds outdoors or transplant the seedlings you started indoors to give the plants the coolness they need.

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Get a tax deduction for damage to trees from storm

Fallen Tree by Dendroica cerulea

Did you know that you may be able to take a tax deduction for a tree that fell down because of the storms? To get the deduction will require a specially-trained expert or consulting arborist to assess the value of the lost tree. Read this article to see how to apply for a deduction.

There is an expression that “It is too late to bolt the barn door after the horse was stolen” or some variation on that statement. (see here) TheGardenLady understands this, and this is why she has written two posts on how to prepare for winter or future electrical outages AFTER “Hurricane” Sandy hit. But with the news reporting earthquakes in areas not normally known as earthquake areas or with a second Nor’easter Storm that just hit New Jersey and New York, maybe it isn’t too late to give some suggestions for preparedness in the event of more horrible weather.  (My children have taken to referring to ThisGardenLady as Debbie Downer, the fictional Saturday Night Live character who always sees the down side of things that are happening in the world today. Watch this episode with Debbie Downer celebrating Thanksgiving.)

The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a colder than usual winter for the Northeast and northern states, if one thinks the Farmers’ Almanac is able to read the crystal ball for prognostication or prophesy. I read that they claim  80% accuracy.


5 things to do to keep more comfortable during electrical outages from storms

blackouts are fun by sandcastlematt

In the last post, TheGardenLady listed five things you should do to prepare your plants for the upcoming winter.  Here are some more tips to keep in mind if you lose power when it’s cold outside and you lose your power, as TheGardenLady did after Hurricane Sandy hit.

1) If you have a gas range but no heat warming your house, warm your kitchen and surrounding rooms by filling your largest pots with water, bringing  the water to a boil and then lowering the heat and letting the water give off steam. The steam can raise the temperature in your house by about 10 degrees so that it feels comfortable. TheGardenLady uses her biggest soup pots, putting one on each of the 4 burners. This is what our grandmothers did before central heating.  Keep the pots filled with water, adding water as they boil down but don’t let them boil so hard they put out the flame and don’t let the water boil out.

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What to do with damaged trees after Hurricane Sandy

Calm Before the Storm by pheαnix

TheGardenLady’s heart goes out to all the people who lost so much in the wake of the massive storm Sandy. I cannot fathom how people are coping with all the devastation.

For those who were lucky to just lose trees or branches, I offer a little advice.

If there are broken branches, don’t hesitate to have them cut off. This is not real pruning- you can cut off dead or damaged branches any time of the year.

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Staying Cool in the Garden

Beat the Heat by EJP Photo

The National Climatic Data Center reports that the US is experiencing the worst drought since 1956. Parts of the world are experiencing flooding. What does this extreme weather mean for gardeners? It is difficult to know.
But the most important piece of advice is to take care of the gardener first.

If you are in an area where there is flooding, there is nothing you can do to protect your garden until the water recedes. Save your family, yourself and your animals.  You can worry about the garden when things get back to normal.

If it is sunny and hot, you may be able to save something in your garden.  But remember to take care of the gardener (yourself) first. If you do go out in the garden, be sure to carry ample water for your own needs. It is often advised on the labels of hoses NOT to drink from them as you water your plants. Your garden hose may be hazardous to your health. Many hoses are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which uses lead as a stabilizer.  So have a bottle of water with you when you are outdoors, so you can drink safely.

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Flowers are Blooming Earlier than Usual – What Does this Mean?

A splash of colour in the gloom by Steve-h

It is obvious on our planet that the weather has changed. The earth is warming. Many parts of the US are seeing flowers in bloom approximately a month earlier than usual.

In my area, the hellebores have been in bloom for months. Snow drops and crocuses are flowering and now the daffodils are open or opening. Pansies are having their winter show. What this will mean for gardeners and farmers will have to be seen.

Gardeners seem to be advised to start planting some early crops already. Peas which were historically planted on St. Patrick’s Day in my temp zone, can be planted now. The Farmers’ Almanac has this year’s calendar for planting.  Besides earlier planting, what the temperature changes will bring will also have to be seen. We may be getting more pests, we may have less water to use on our plants or we may be able to grow bumper crops in areas certain crops were never grown before.

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Helping Plants when Stressed by Weather Challenges

Bee Balm, Stressed | 199/365 by mfhiatt

Someone said that this summer has been the wettest on record-at least on the East Coast. Meanwhile parts of the US have had one of the longest, hottest droughts.  I believe the heat level is a record. The challenges for farmers and gardeners are huge. I often wonder if my parents could have become farmers if they had to overcome such weather hurdles. And the challenges for plants with this strange weather is enormous.

Plants of any kind, including trees, are under a great deal of stress with these weather extremes. Even when plants survive, stress makes the plants more vulnerable to disease and insect attacks. For those readers of TheGardenLady who want to learn more about plant stress and what is happening in the research on plant stress at a very academic level check out this.

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Hurricane Irene’s effects on the TheGardenLady’s property

Hurricane Irene Reaches New York City by NASA Goddard Photo and…

My heart goes out to all of you who are suffering from the after effects of Hurricane Irene. (This is a list of the names for storms) I was lucky.

The only problem on my property was the downing of lots of small branches and lots of black walnuts. If the electricity had not gone off for 3 days, from the looks of my property only, I would have thought this had been a relatively minor storm. My stream did not flood. The bottom of my property did not flood. No trees nor limbs of trees came down. And I didn’t get water in my basement.

But I know a lot of people suffered. A lot of people still don’t have electricity. Those who didn’t have electricity and had floods in their basements now have to contend with mold and the smells associated with dampness. Even those who had electricity, so much water poured in that their sump pumps could not pump it out fast enough. The thought of such a mess is depressing.

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How to Stay Safe and Cool in the Hot Weather

Please Keep Clean Water in Shallow Dishes to Help Birds Survive The Current Heat Wave!! by Koshyk

My heart bleeds for the parts of our country and the world where people have been under a heat wave for such a long time. Here on the East coast where I live, we had a week of the hot weather but only 3 days of the really brutal weather that others are experiencing. I worry about all of your gardens and farms that have had to suffer this heat wave.

But most of all I worry about you- the gardeners and farmers. I hope you are taking every precaution to prevent succumbing to this heat. After all, if you get sick from the heat, the gardens or farms will not have anyone to help in the future.

Noel Coward wrote the famous song that said, “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” I will have to review the lyrics of the song, but I imagine that if Englishmen go out in the midday sun, they must be concerned about their gardens as all gardeners are. And a dog has to venture out in this heat when “nature calls” whether it is mad or not. But they do have products to keep dogs cool.   See here.

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