The Garden Plot: Flowers are slowly waking up – The Stokes News


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As we reach the middle of the month and the halfway point of winter, jonquils, hyacinths, and daffodils are now showing their dark green spikes through layers of mulch and crushed leaves. It is always great to see green in the middle of winter peeking through blankets of mulch. By the time March arrives, they should be reaching full bloom.
The pesky wild onions are also beginning to show up. This is another reason to keep your weed trimmer fueled up and operating each week during winter; use the weed trimmer to cut the onion spikes down to ground level. You definitely will not get rid of the onions but you can keep them under control and make the winter lawns look neater.
Among the objects of greenery appearing during the bleakness of winter is the glossy, heart-shaped laves of the American violets emerging on the edge of The Garden Plot. As they continue to grow, you can make a perennial out of one of them by digging up a clump and planting it in a container of fine potting soil on your porch or deck. Water and feed it with Flower-Tone organic flower food for Miracle-Grow liquid plant food. The violet will continue to grow year after year.
Siberian kale is cold-hardy, sweet, long lasting and has zero insect enemies as it resists cold, snow, ice, and freezes. It is packed with color, taste, sweetness, vitamins, variety, and just plain good nourishment. It is no wonder that kale is becoming the number one green in all of America! It is a great investment in any winter garden.
Lettuce is another cold weather vegetable that can now be sown in a bed or short row. Sow seed thinly in a furrow two inches deep. Cover seed with a layer of peat moss and an application of organic plant food. Hill soil up on each side of furrow and tamp down with a hoe blade. Lettuce has a harvest date of 45 to 50 days.
A boom of winter thunder. Thunder in the season of winter is not that unusual. Winter thunder occurs when temperatures aloft are warmer than they are on the surface.
My Northampton County grandma was a weather guru and she observed strange weather occurrences. If winter thunder occurred, she kept count of the number of times thunder occurred. The number of booms of thunder would indicate the number of days before a winter snow would fall.
My mother’s prediction of winter was a bit different. To her, winter thunder predicted by each boom, the number of inches of snow would be in the next snowfall of winter.
A search around dormant lawn. With the lawn now in dormant mode, you can get some great exercise and sunlight by taking a walk around the winter lawn. This walk can be purposeful in picking up debris, sticks, limbs, rocks, litter and objects that your mower may encounter in a few weeks when mowing season begins. Remove and discard these objects now before they make their way into your mower’s blade.
Now is also the time to have mowers and lawn equipment such as trimmers and blowers serviced and tuned up. Most lawn mowers and small engine shops are not as busy in February and many service centers will pick up your riding mower, service it, and return it to your home for a reasonable fee.
While we are on the subject of mowers, remember to start your mower every week during winter and allow it to run for a minute or two. You may also want to leave the blade disengaged and drive it around the lawn a few times. This works well in winter because you may want to use the mower to run over leaves and break them down for mulch and compost.
Keep plenty of fuel in the equipment and don’t let it go empty.
Seeds are showing up. With Saint Valentine’s Day in the rear-view mirror, seed racks are now adorning local garden shops and supermarkets. Place seeds in a dry place in the house and label the packets so you will know what you have on hand when planting time arrives. Most stores have a huge selection to choose from right now.
Beef Stroganoff
1 lb. round steak cut against the grain into quarter-inch strips
4 Tbs. vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 3 oz. can of mushrooms, drained
1 packet Beefy Onion Soup mix
1 cup sour cream
3 Tbs. plain flour
Cover beef strips with flour, salt, and pepper and lightly brown in oil. Add water and mushrooms, stir in soup mix. Heat until mixture comes to a boil. Blend in sour cream and flour. Simmer and stir until the mixture thickens. Serve the Stroganoff over noodles or rice.
Hoe-Hoe-Hoedown: When little Brady opened a gift from his grandmother, he was very excited to receive a water pistol. He went to the bathroom sink to fill it with water. Brady’s mom was not very pleased and hold her mother, “I’m surprised that you, of all people, would give him a water pistol. Don’t you remember how we kids used to drive you crazy with water guns?” The grandmother slyly replied, “Yes, I distinctly do remember … now it’s pay-back time!”

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