Ground Hog’s Day has come and gone, I hope yours went well.
When I was a kid growing up in the Ida area, Ground Hog’s Day was always a big deal. This was due, in large measure, to the rural character of that part of Monroe County at that time.
Farmers who kept livestock would always take note of how much hay was in the mow and how much corn was in the grainery. February 2nd, they always said, was the half-way point between the last harvest of the previous year and the arrival of the first pasture for the upcoming spring. If more than half of their hay was left on that date, then they had enough feed to last through the rest of the winter. That whole ground hog shadow hullabaloo was there just for fun.
We as gardeners should follow those old farmer’s example. This is the perfect time to check your items in storage if you haven’t already done so. For example, today we checked our canna and dahlia roots dug last fall ( to be re-planted in the spring ) for any signs of decay. The bad ones were discarded to keep the remainder from rotting. We inspected the geraniums in the cold storage room and they looked fine. This year we also tried keeping our extra banana plants in cold storage instead of in the greenhouse since we were running out of room for them. They look pretty rough, however, I believe the growing points deep inside the trunk are dormant and just fine.
We also checked the refrigerated cooler, as it is located in the same storage building. A few red onions are beginning to sprout. That is to be expected because that variety is not a ” keeping ” variety. So we will have to use those up first. The yellow ‘Copra’ onions look as good as the day they were placed into storage. The garlic, put into storage last August, are in fine shape too.
The cooler is also the winter home to our hyacinths we will begin forcing in the greenhouse, next week. They were potted up last fall, five bulbs to a six inch pot. The tiny ‘Tete-a-tete’ dafodills looked great as well. Those of you who potted bulbs for forcing, should check the bottom of the pot to see if the roots have grown through the drainage holes. This holds true whether you keep them in a ‘fridge or outdoors. This will give you some idea how far they have progressed. Most of our hyacinths have strong healthy roots just pushing through the drainage holes. Hence, our plan to bring them into the greenhouse on Monday.
One other unexpected item came to light during our annual Ground Hog’s Day inspection, the refrigerated cooler had broked down sometime during the last couple of days. Instead of cooling the inside of the cooler, it seemed to be heating it instead! The temperature inside the cooler was 67 degrees F. The storage room where it was located was 45 degrees F. That’s how I realized something was wrong. 😉
So you see, Ground Hog’s Day really does serve a useful purpose.
… looking forward to 6 more weeks ’til spring,