The birds know it's coming. You can tell by their early morning chirpy behavior. The kids know it. Today, they were out in shorts and t-shirts. The TV meteorologists have a tough job though. It' might be warm today, but watch out. Today's a lamb, but tomorrow roars like a lion. Ah, March in New England.
With a week to go until the calendar marks the changing season, and about 8 more until we can get our hands into the soil to plant a garden, here are some tips to tide you over.
- Clean out those closets! It does a girl good.
- Get rid of stuff — any stuff you don't need, don't like, or don't use. Find another home or another use for things. Plan on donating, have a yard sale, or call some friends who might like getting a treat. Try Freecycle or Craigslist. Both are great resources and you can avoid having things end up in a landfill.
- Plan your garden. Determine how much space you need between plants and draw a sketch. It's exciting just thinking of it. Planning will help you ovoid over-buying. Last year, I got just a little ambitious while at the plant nursery. My friend became the recipient of the extra annuals.
- Wash the windows– inside and out. That really let's you see things clearly.
- Force some flowers. What's this you ask? Forsythia and pussy willows are two of the best options. The former teacher in me notes that it's a great way to teach kids some plant biology and to observe natural processes. But please don't pinch stems from neighbors. PS. These are About.com's instructions if you want to read more.
- Pick a day that is above freezing.
- Cut the stems in lengths of less than 3 feet, and bring them home.
- Put the stems in a bucket of warm water.
- With your pruning shears, cut another inch off the bottoms of the submerged stems. This second cut, performed underwater where air cannot act as a drying agent, will promote water intake.
- Allow the stems to soak up the warm water for several hours.
- Now it's time to change the water. When you refill, put floral preservative in the warm water this time. Once again, re-cut the stems, underwater. You'll speed up the flower forcing if you keep the stems in a high-humidity environment and give them some sun.
Other tips to share? Please do!!!