Signs of Spring

| 3/15/2011 8:45:00 AM

A photo of Allan DouglasDear Reader, this post falls under the category of Land Maintenance, so I thought I’d talk a bit about some things that are happening here in the mountains, and preparations we are making for the much welcomed spring.


Spring time here in the great Smoky Mountains means, first: rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Our mountain retreat will seem more like Seattle for a month or so from late February through most of March.  The ground will be soggy, the rivers run full and we make good use of umbrellas and wide brimmed hats (like my fedora).  Not only does it rain often, but some will be very heavy rainfalls, which can lead to the washing out of driveways and roads.  Crusher-run gravel comes at a premium price at this time of year as residents scramble to repair damage to their drives and access roads.  This year with all the budget cuts, including road maintenance, some of our normally top-notch roads are deteriorating rapidly.  One that we normally use as a short-cut into town has become all but impassible because of the pot holes.


On the brighter side; we also enjoy the brilliant colors of spring; all the fruit trees burst into bloom practically overnight, the pink and white of Dogwood trees and the lavender of Redbud trees, yellow of Forsythia and bright red of Quince.  The irises and day lilies have already put up their spiky green leaves and will soon flower into purple, orange and red blossoms.  Pansies are already putting on a show, and a multitude of ground covers are popping open in purple, pink, yellow, and white flowers. The following video is not of TGSM, but it looks a lot like our region:



The seeds I planted in peat pods in my mini-green house have sprouted and will, in another couple of weeks, be ready to harden off and then go into the ground in the garden.  The garden itself has lain dormant for the winter under a blanket of fall foliage and is now ready to till and make ready for planting.

This year I will adopt a Four-Square method of gardening instead of the traditional method I used last year.  Heavy rains caused too much shifting of the soil in my sloping garden plot - even though it is planted on the flattest spot of land we have here!  We lost some top soil, and my neat rows of radishes tended to wander around the garden.  Some seedlings took offense to being moved and died off.  I decided that I would terrace the plot this year, but over the winter discovered the Four-Square method and decided that this makes more sense for us.  I’ll go into more detail on this method in an upcoming post.

3/28/2011 1:55:08 PM Spring has shown its face here in Florence, but today the Dogwoods are needing their winter I think.

Nebraska Dave
3/18/2011 8:20:27 PM

Allan, a friend of mine and his son are growing a Maple tree from a helicopter seed. They started it in a Styrofoam cup inside and transplanted it to a small bucket and now it's outside in the lawn a full three years strong and growing. I've never grown a tree from a seed and have only cut down the trees in my yard due to carpenter ants eating out the core of the two trees.
Very nice Spring time YouTube video.
Have a great spring day.

Cindy Murphy
3/18/2011 9:20:16 AM

Hi, Allan. (first I have to say this one long paragraph is not as garbled as it may appear. I can't get paragraphs to break, so it seems like one continuous run-on thought without a breather.) Now that that's explained, you are much further along then we are in Michigan; we've only got the smallest signs that spring is on the way here. I noticed the daffodils just starting to poke their noses out of the ground, though they got nipped by Jack Frost; he's still hanging around. Looking forward to hearing about the Four Square gardening method - I don't think I'm familiar with it. A "psst"...chestnuts grow from chestnuts; oaks grow from acorns. Although, just to prove it's a nutty world out there, both chestnuts and oaks are in the beech family. Beeches, of course, grow from beechnuts....which are not to be confused with beachnuts, which I believe, grow from Sun worshippers. Or maybe surfers.

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