Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chapter 13 - How Sweet Was Your Kale?

 The Importance of the Garden Journal

It snowed again last night.  Only a little.  Maybe 1/2 inch but that's enough to make me want to hunker down by the fire with a mug of steaming hot tea and a trashy novel.  I've had it with winter.

Waiting for Spring to come again
Lynn, my high school chum of long ago, moved to Wyoming or North Dakota or one of those icey cold states.  She absolutely ADORES 50 degree below zero weather.  I don't get it.  Maybe she thinks she'll keep better frozen.

I know snow is important in our area for the moisture it adds to our water table. The water table is the level of water in the ground;  the amount of water that's available for plants at the deep root level.  You can't see the water table but come August,  the plants and I will be thankful for the snow we've had this winter.  For now, I don't like it.

It always snows in Virginia this time of year.  February is our snow month, sometime between Valentines' Day and Presidents' Day.  We expect it in December - for Christmas - but there's usually not much.  February is when we typically see snow.

We only got a 1/2 inch of
 snow last night but
last year,  we measured
 snow in feet - not inches

I know it always snows in February because, for quite a few years now, I've been keeping a garden journal.  I got the idea from Thomas Jefferson, Virginia's original Master Gardener.  He kept journals - incredibly detailed garden journals.

Journals are very important in gardening.  It's easy to forget the name of that yummy variety of kale you planted last year or the variety of green beans that were so tender and sweet or the date you planted summer squash to avoid the breeding cycle the dreaded Virginia squash bug.  Journals remind us of the facts when the romance of last year's garden is waltzing through the snow flakes of winter.

Waiting for Spring

A garden journal doesn't have to be elaborate.  A few lines of remembrance jotted down in a spiral notebook will do nicely.  Dates and details are the important stuff.  Anecdotal information, too, like  "In June, I broadcasted all the left over seeds I found from previous years over the barren ground in front of the new house.  By September, I had a field of flowers for cutting and greens for salad."

But that's another story.

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