Will 2010 growing season be on the shorter side?
February is definitely here and just a few weeks ago, Punxsutawney Phil gave his prediction as to the duration of the winter. Although it was reported that most local groundhogs did not see their shadows, Phil did see his, which predicted six more weeks of winter. Interestingly, the Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a cool, wet weather late into the spring.
The wooly worm, which sported a light middle and dark ends in the fall, is in agreement with a cool spring. The usual growing season for Northwest Ohio ranges from 130 to 200 days and, if all predictors are correct, it could be on the shorter side this year.
If it is shorter this year, gardeners may want to consider starting seeds indoors this year. February is the ideal time to start seeds inside. Starting garden plants from seeds will allow you to grow things that may not be available in garden centers in the spring. It will also enable gardeners to grow a lot of plants and at very low cost. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and pumpkins can be easily grown from seeds and then can be transplanted into the garden as soon as all danger of frost is past in the spring. In Northwest Ohio, this is usually in mid-May.
Many annual and perennial flowers are also easily started from seed and, doing so will significantly cut your flower costs in the spring. Dahlias, which are usually purchased as tubers, can be started as seeds in February, transplanted into your flower beds in the spring, and will produce tubers in the fall, which can be dug and stored over the winter. These can then be replanted next spring to produce new Dahlias again.
February is also a good time to check your trees and shrubs for damaged branches. Because there is no foliage growing now, it is much easier to see cracks and breaks in branches and limbs. Damaged material should be pruned off using proper pruning procedure.
Want some spring in your home in the coming weeks? Cut some branches from flowering shrubs or trees such as forsythia, crabapple, pear, cherry, etc., and bring them inside. Place the branches in a vase of water and set them in a sunny location. In a short time, they will begin to bloom and provide some fresh, bright, spring color in your home.