When it comes to spring in New England, we must, as Hannah Arendt states, “Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.” If you experienced any frost last evening, hopefully you protected the delicates that can suffer in these types of unpredictable growing conditions. I just read an interesting tidbit yesterday that the "average temperature at the South Pole was a minus 54.2 degrees Fahrenheit in 2009, making it the warmest year since records began in 1957." I don’t know what you can grow in those conditions so dealing with New England's late frost is manageable.
Here are the answers from yesterday’s brain teasers.
1) The Astilbe does well in moist, shady locations. (True) These perennials can handle sun better than they can tolerate dry conditions so just make sure you can provide moist, organic rich soils to ensure this flower’s success. Leo Blanchette of Blanchette Gardens in Carlisle, MA has one of the most extensive collections of these plants. Be sure to check out his nursery. It is loaded with many unique finds for your garden. http://www.blanchettegardens.com/
2) The blossom on a daylily lasts one day, hence its name. (True) If you do make a trek to Carlisle, be sure to check out Seawright Gardens. http://www.daylilies-hostas.com/ Bob has a great selection of daylilies. The best time to visit is in July when the daylily bloom is at peak.
3) If you grow strawberries, last-season frost can damage a crop. (True) Late-season frost can damage the flower and fruit-set. Try to protect/cover your strawberry patch. For the last two nights, we have covered our strawberries with tarps. No damage and we did have frost last evening.
4) Exposed topsoil is subject to erosion and deterioration. (True) For an interesting history class, look back at the dust storms that took place in the mid 1900’s. This was a rough ten-year period for the farmers of the Midwest; they learned this lesson the hard way with scalding temperatures and a drought to boot. Wind-blown topsoil in its extremes can also create very high levels of static electricity. Agriculture 101 – never leave your topsoil exposed
5) Green manure is fresh manure spread on a garden in the fall. (False) Green manure, which is also known as a winter cover crop is used to stabilize the soil throughout the winter months. It adds organic matter to the soils when it is later tilled in during the spring. Winter rye is typically used because it is inexpensive and germinates in cool weather.
P.S. Sending birthday wishes to one of my daily blog readers – Happy Birthday, Mary S.
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