Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The March Toward Spring

Well, two more weeks before our supposed final frost date. We've really had it pretty lucky here this year - only one major snowfall, and that was back at Christmas.

I'm not totally packing up the frost cloth and old bedsheets just yet, mind you. The juncos are still here, hopping around frantically on the ground below my feeders. I don't know if they're lingering because more cold weather is expected, or if they're just stuffing themselves in anticipation of a long flight up North in the near future. (Much as I love the cute little ivory-tummied darlings, I hope it's the latter.)

Conversely, the robins have seemingly never left. Prior to moving to Plano, I'd never witnessed gangs of marauding robins like I have here. They descended in huge flocks upon our dwarf yaupons one morning and, along with the more sedate Cedar Waxwings, stripped the trees clean of berries. The poor mockingbird who regularly stands guard in our back yard was beside himself. Order has since been restored, but I put a half tangerine out for Mr. Mock to munch on as a sort of consolation prize.

Speaking of the back yard, my landscaping buddy Brian came out and did a terrific job of cleaning up. The huge dead vines that hung like picture wire on our back fence are gone, along with a couple of errant, sickly yuccas and a small tree I didn't like and couldn't identify. The rose bushes in the 20' west side bed are also gone. I need to amend that soil now with something to prepare it for some 50-odd dahlia bulbs. Not sure what, though; I was going to use compost but Swan Island Dahlias warns against it. I am skeptical, as were several others on the Yahoo! Dahlia list group. Maybe I'll just use a small amount. I hate to add peat moss, as it doesn't break down in or add nutrients to the soil, but I may have to. The bed is total black clay.

My seedlings are doing well. The cole crops are ready to go out on there own, while the tomatoes will remain indoors but will graduate to one gallon pots. I don't plan on starting summer fruits and veggies for about another month, but I get so darned excited about seed starting, you just never know.

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