Two days of snow and a bit of cold didn’t harm the buds at all. Though they didn’t make any progress, either; they’re the same size as last week. Then again, maybe they’re as big as they get, and now some internal, enflowering, process takes over. I guess we’ll see! Which is the nice thing about taking pictures every day; it sharpens the vision.
Yeah, “haybale ties.” Orange, petroleum-based. Ick. I think they’re straw bales, actually, for sheet mulch (no seeds). But “hay bales” are what we call them, straw though they may be… Anyhow, I cheat: I order mine from Blue Seal!
Snow again! “No significant accumulation”? Tell that to the lilac buds!
Snow in Maine on March 28?!?!?! Well, maybe not so incredible, but coming after 80° F weather last week, it sure seems weird. Or back to normal. Or both.
I shouldn’t whine, though; it’s not a hard freeze. We’ve got it easy up here!
That’s before. Here’s after:
Not much to say about “before.” The snow was too wet and heavy to make really good instrumentation.
The “after” shows my paths. I’m a big fan of paths, especially since I can’t plant anything yet…
Paths aren’t a lot of work to make, which is good, because I don’t like work. You don’t need to weed them (much), and they feel very pleasant to the bare foot in July. I’m going to make some more this season, when I’ll show the process here, but it’s simple: (1) figure out where you want the path; (2) get a yard or so of stone dust and have it dumped where it’s not a lot of work to move; (3) clear the path of weeds, and use a garden trowel to more or less level it out (you don’t want water pooling up); (4) lay down a few yards of rugged non-woven fabric on the path, two layers of it, and spike it in place; (5) arrange your bricks on top of either side of the fabric, using your trowel to level them; (6) shovel the stone dust onto the fabric between the bricks; (7) shovel more stone dust into the cracks between the bricks and behind the bricks (gravity and water will settle the dust into the cracks so there’s no opportunity for weeds); (8) level everything out with a push broom; and (9) mist it down with the hose. Takes three or four hours including breaks, and the paths in this picture are entering their third year. Quite a return.
I made the pretty entrance last summer for people who want to pick vegetables. I pictured the woodchuck opening a gate with its little paws, so no gate; in the summer, I put a wooden step at the entrance, so people can enter the garden that way.
Just like yesterday: A real nothing for a snow storm in the night followed by a warm day. For this, the plows woke me up?!
Anyhow, very soft, very wet snow, wind from the north.
Here, the light snow ups the contrast to show some cuke vines I didn’t rip up last fall. Maybe I should, though; apparently I shouldn’t leave “crop debris” lying about, because bugs winter over in them. Dang. Something to watch for.
Guess I should clean out this compost bin, too, especially since the vines aren’t rotting at all.
Not to tempt fate with that headline! But because the snow is so light, we can see the nanoclimates created by rocks and leaves.
Notice the melt round the rocks: That’s because the rocks act as heat sinks; they are slightly warmer than their surroundings (one reason the rocks in rock gardens are useful as well as ornamental).
And notice the melt where the rotting — hence dark — and flat-lying leaves are; they are soaking up sunlight, even on a cloudy day.
These nanoclimates are present at all times: Spring, summer, and fall, beside this late winter. But only with snow instrumenting the land can we see them.
The start of mud season in Maine can be a little discouraging because of the debris left behind after the snow melts: Litter, twigs, cigarette butts, bottles, and above all the dirt and sand thrown aside by the plows. There’s no snow to hide it, and April showers haven’t come yet to wash it all away.
Anyhow, when the flower garden in front of the house is blooming, I hide toy animals under the hosta and the pansies and the columbines; I think that passers-by, especially children, will enjoy spotting them. And today, I found one that I’d failed to collect in the fall, and which had somehow migrated a couple of yards from its original location. So I put it back.
The bark mulch is there only because of a past beautification effort. But I don’t really like bark mulch. Two years, now, and it still hasn’t rotted!
Time to stack the shovels for the year? Heading toward 40 today, up here in Maine. And 50 next week. Of course, the weather could be fooling us, luring us into relaxing before slamming us with more snow, or even a cold snap. I just hope the seeds and the seedlings are smarter than we humans are.
Last year’s sheet mulch will get layered over with this year’s. Forty or sixty days from now. Sigh.
Red arrows: Thermal mass pushing outward.
Once again, snow is instrumentation.