Field of Science

An official beginning to spring

It's official! Spring is here! The Phytophactor doesn't much care for the calendar designations of the seasons. What matters is what the garden and gardener do. While taking my morning coffee, spring was declared because the witch hazel (Hamamelis) out beside the garage was in full , cheerful yellow flower. Witch hazels will bloom reliably when every other shrub is nothing more than bare naked twigs, some in the late fall (November) and some in the spring (March). This year the witch hazel even beat the snowdrops for first to bloom. Another witch hazel variety beat this shrub by a week or more, but it's a young plant and only had a couple of flowers after the rabbits pruned it so thoroughly during the winter. Witch hazels also have nice fall color and the grow well in shady areas.

Not to be out done, the Phactor planted spinach, lettuce, and mustard salad greens in boxes that went into the cold frame greenhouse. Any time the daytime temperatures are at or above freezing, cold tolerant plants will grow quite nicely in a cold frame heated only by trapping solar energy. This is a great way to extend the salad season by two months a year (spring and fall). So come on people, what are you waiting for? Spring is here!

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