Spring bulbs preparing to wake up
The jonquil, hyacinth, crocus, daffodil and tulip bulbs are now under a bed of shredded leaves. Over the next few days, layer on top of bone meal or bulb enhancer. When we have a large amount of snow, the melted snow will absorb the bone meal or bulb booster and drive it deep into the soil and wake up the sleeping bulbs. By late January they should start to show small green spikes poking through the shredded leaf layer.
Cold temperatures, frozen grass, frozen quagmire
Freezing temperatures at night and frost crystals on the lawn and roof in the morning and the cold wind blowing from the north and maybe the forecast of some snow – January can bring a great recipe of ingredients. We can mix in some sunny days to make the month interesting. Temperatures for most days in January will rise above freezing and this is a blessing in that it prevents the ground from freezing. In the Piedmont, we measure our snowfall in inches, while in the Midwest, we measure snowfall in feet. In Minnesota, when the last snowfall falls in April, some of the first snowfall of the season is found in the background of the last snowfall to fall. In northern New England, they also get their share of heavy snow. A bit of weather lore for these areas of the country is: “if January weather is cold and gray, you can expect winter until May.”
As January progresses, we’re looking forward to some white January stuff to whiten the winter landscape with the beauty that only snow can bring. A snow that makes the trees wrinkle and the stars shine. A snow that covers the lawn, the orchard, the forests and meadows and embellishes everything it touches. Some wet snow that makes great snowmen and a bowl of Carolina Snow Cream. The kind of snow that makes lawns look like diamonds when streetlights shine on the snow. Snow brings a certain tranquility to everything it comes into contact with. Snow has that certain quality that cleanses the earth and the environment and a magic that comes with any amount of snow.
A bountiful year for four o’clock in 2023
Hardware stores, garden centers, seed stores, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Ace Hardware, and most supermarkets have colorful shelves that are filled with packets of flower and vegetable seeds. Pick up multiple packs of four o’clock clocks while you go shopping. The four o’clock watches come in a variety of colors including red, white, yellow, pink, and wine. They also come in mottled and marbled colors. All of these colors shine in lush, dark green foliage. Four o’ clocks will grow in all types of soil and will flower from May until the first frost. Four o’clock packs in stores are less than $2 per pack. They can be planted in rows or in large containers.
Buy a sled or snow plate before the snow arrives
As we move towards the end of January, the chances of a heavy snowfall are good. Most kids and grandkids look forward to enough snow to build a snowman, sleigh ride, and make snow angels out of freshly fallen snow, plus enjoy a few snow days. Many gardeners wait for snow to cover their garden plot and lawn to kill wintering insects, weed seeds, fungi and soil organisms. Hardware stores, Walmart, and other businesses are now well stocked with sleds, snowboards, snow dishes, as well as shovels, de-icers, ice scrapers, snow melts, and salt.
Making a Sharp Cheddar Cheeseburger Pie
On a cold January day, sharp cheddar and ground or pulled beef make a great cheeseburger pie. This cake has very few ingredients, but they all blend together to form a tasty cake that will make a meal. You will need one pound of ground beef or beef, one eight-ounce package of finely grated sharp cheddar cheese, one packet of Recipe Secrets Beef Onion Soup Mix, one and a half cups of milk, one cup of Bisquick, three large eggs, and two tablespoons of Heinz ketchup. Boil ground round or chop until very tender, mash with a potato masher and add 1 packet of Secrets Recipe Meaty Onion Soup Mix and bring to a boil for several minutes. Pour into 13x9x2-inch baking pan or dish sprayed with Pam’s baking spray. Add the Heinz tomato sauce, spread the finely grated cheese over the top of the ground mixture. Mix the Bisquick, eggs, milk until smooth and pour over the top of the grated cheese. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for five minutes. It will make eight servings.
Starting the lawn tractor
During the winter months, it’s always a good idea to start your riding mower once a week and let it run until it warms up. Keep the mower full of fuel for easier starting. During each winter month, drive the mower across the lawn with the blade disengaged to engage all moving parts. Keep leaf blowers and weed trimmers powered and turn them on once a week. A riding mower cover is a good investment and costs around $20. It is always a good idea to keep engines running during the winter. Wild onions are beginning to sprout in midwinter lawns and you will need the weedcutter set to go and cut the onions down to ground level to stop their growth.
January can bring strong frosts to the garden plot
During January, hard frosts are a possibility in the winter garden plot. This is not a bad situation because when the ground freezes, the falling snow will have a great opportunity to stick and stay longer to kill insect eggs, larvae and pests, as well as weed seeds. Frozen soil will also destroy many fungal organisms and diseases in the soil. My mother always said that when it’s so cold that the ground freezes, it’s also cold enough to get rid of many germs that cause flu and other viruses. There are many good and hidden treasures and blessings in the hard frost of winter.
Cardboard and plastic bags protect from frost
During the month, perennials like American Bee Balm, Veronica, and Forget-Me-Nots can be protected from frost with cardboard and plastic grocery bags. Glue two pieces of cardboard together to cover the containers or plant pots. Use for or five plastic bags to cover the plants and the cardboard cover to cover the bags for two layers of protection. The next day, when temperatures rise, remove the covers to allow sunlight to reach the plants. Replace cardboard and plastic bags that night before dark. Water very lightly once a week to protect the plants.
Early Valentine on the edge of the garden plot
As we move past the middle of January, an unusual heart-shaped green leaf appears like an early Valentine on the edge of the garden plot, as well as an early heart on the foliage of the American Violet. Its glossy foliage is a herald of Valentine’s Day and also a sign that spring is on the way. You can start a group of American violets as a perennial on your porch or deck in a pot or container in a semi-shady spot with a potting medium. In several weeks, the plant will produce flowers for almost a month. They will have lush, glossy foliage to carry on in hot weather. They will thrive through the winter and return each year.
The hyacinths are starting to spike
The green spikes of the hyacinth show as they appear through layers of crushed leaves as patches of green. They are now about three inches tall and are an interesting sign of spring. Over the next four to five weeks, they will be bearing red, white, yellow, purple, lavender, and pink flowers. They can now be boosted with handfuls of bone meal to promote flowering late next month.
A great reward of feeding birds during the winter is that you never know what varieties will show up. Several times we have had ravens to show up. One day they showed up and ate at the feeder and the next day we had an inch of snow. We don’t know if they were a sign of snow or not! We know that crows seem to be friendlier to people than they used to be. Speaking of people-friendly, we think bluebirds are becoming more people-friendly. In fact, we see them several times during the winter. They are really colorful and we wonder if they are like robins that have adapted to our winters. Unlike robins that feed on worms, grubs, and insects, bluebirds visit feeders and feed on seeds. We certainly expect to see more of them in all seasons of the year. We don’t think it’s global warming, but bluebirds, like robins, are just doing the math.
Three weeks to Valentine’s
Valentine’s Day is only three weeks away and there is still plenty of time to select those gifts for husbands, wives, children, grandchildren and lovers. All stores, supermarkets, and florists have great selections and options of flowers, candy, perfume, and when all else fails, gift certificates to favorite restaurants and plastic gift cards to favorite stores.
Tree and vine pruning
Fruit trees and vines are dormant and late January to February is an opportune time to prune, shape and trim them while the branches and branches are bare. All of them are visible which makes pruning and shaping effective. Pruning not only makes harvesting easier, but also prepares trees and vines to produce more
Woof, woof, woof
“Qualities of life”. Pastor: “Does her husband believe in the afterlife?” Wife: (laughing as she answers) “You ask if he believes in life after death. Boy, he doesn’t believe in life after dinner.
“Honey money.” Jonnie: “My wife never stops asking for money. Last week, it was a hundred dollars; the week before it was $100; this week it was $300.” Donnie: “What does she do with all that money? Jonnie: “I don’t know, I never gave him anything!”
“Addition of words”. After her husband’s death, her wife ordered a tombstone for him with the words Rest In Peace. When she later found out that her husband had not left her anything in her will, she asked that the words on the stone be changed, but the words had already been chiselled and could not be changed. “In that case,” she told the recorder, please add, “Until we meet again!”