Wild blackberry buds herald “Blackberry Winter”
The tiny buds on wild blackberry vines along Surry County country roads are a prelude to the realization that we are about to experience an annual “blackberry winter”. It will be in full swing at the end of next week and will be with us until almost the last week of May. It’s kind of the last hoorah for chilly weather and uncomfortable nights, even if severe frosts and ground freezes aren’t a threat. Snow is definitely not a threat. In a few more weeks the nights will begin to get warmer and the weather will be warmer at night and will make planting warm weather vegetables favorable and safe.
The pollen season is in full swing
Dusty yellow pollen from one variety of tree after another fills the eyes and nostrils with the dusty substance. The pollen is so fine that it reaches inside vehicle doors and under car hoods and windshield coats. Keep the hose and leaf blower handy. Rinse the car daily and blow pollen off porches and carports to prevent it from entering the house. Wipe the pollen from the inside of the vehicle’s door panels. Use glass cleaner to keep the front and rear windshields free of pollen.
Plant a Bundle of the Amazing Moonflower
The pure white flowers of the moonflower open and bloom at night. An amazing thing about the moonflower is that the flower will open as you watch it at dusk each evening and bloom for just one night. Each night, new flowers will take their place. Many strange pollinators and nocturnal flying insects visit flowers at night. Moon flower bundles are around $2. Plant moonflower seed in a large container of fine potting soil near a porch post or pillar so the vine can climb the post or pillar. They look like a huge morning glory and emit an unusual aroma that attracts nocturnal pollinators. Plant about four or five seeds per container and thin them to three when they germinate. Feed monthly with Flower-Tone Organic Flower Food.
Don’t worry about the remaining frost
There may be a few scattered frosts, but nothing deadly or even to worry about. May will bring cool nights but not much freezing temperatures. Wait closer to the end of May to plant most warm weather vegetables. You can play around with a few tomato plants and a row of green beans and a few hills of squash and cucumbers, but wait until the temperatures get warmer and more consistent later in the month.
Starting a Row or Bed of Early Green Beans
It’s not too early to plant a row or bed of green beans to see if you can enjoy an early harvest. Top Crop or Strike are good varieties to sow for an early row or bed. Plant the seeds in a furrow about 3 to 4 inches deep and apply a layer of peat moss, then sow the seed and cover with another layer of peat moss. Apply one application of Plant-Tone Organic Plant Food and tamp the soil on both sides of the row, then tamp with the blade of the hoe. In early May “Blackberry Winter” soil, green beans may take longer to sprout, but be patient with them, they are worth the wait.
Summer annual flowers can be planted
Summer annuals in particular, those arranged in containers and pots or hanging baskets, can now be planted in potting soil and will thrive as most of them will be on porches and patios and will receive a some protection against the small amount of cooler weather we have. remaining. If you plant flower seeds, the soil will be warmer by the time the seeds germinate.
Ethanol oil additive in two-stroke engines
Leaf blowers, weed trimmers, and weed killers need non-ethanol fuel or a non-ethanol oil treatment additive to add to the fuel. Gasoline containing ethanol can pose a danger to two-stroke engines and damage these engines. If you don’t use ethanol-free gasoline in two-stroke engines, you can use an ethanol fuel treatment that comes in three-ounce bottles that you add to a gallon of gasoline. Most equipment sells ethanol-free fuel in ready-to-use gallon containers.
Moving ferns for spring and summer
The ferns have spent all fall and winter in the sunny living room and this week is the time to move them to a semi-sunny spot on the deck. They will need a few handfuls of potting soil and a topping to prepare for a successful spring and summer. You can now buy panda ferns and asparagus ferns in small containers as well as Boston ferns and transfer them to larger containers after you bring them home and let them grow outside in the spring and summer, then bring them indoors for the winter in a semi-sunny location.
Keep birdbaths and feeders full
As we get warmer days and lots of sunshine, keep plenty of fresh water in the birdbath and restock the feeders often. Birds build nests, search for nesting materials, often visit baths and feeders. We hope they build a nest near you so you can observe them.
Strawberry harvest is almost ready
As we come to the first of May, the Piedmont strawberry harvest season is almost upon us. The season officially starts the week after Mother’s Day and it’s only a week away. A few fields have already opened and in Surry County many will open in the next seven days. Plan a visit to a U-pick field near you now and enjoy strawberries all season long.
Strawberry and banana salad
Kick off strawberry season with a simple and colorful strawberry-banana salad. You will need two three-ounce cans of Strawberry Jello, one cup boiling water, half a liter of fresh strawberries, four bananas (diced with a few drops of lemon drops added), half a cup of pecans chopped, a carton of sour cream, a cup of sugar. Dissolve cans of Jello in boiling water, add fresh strawberries (halved), diced bananas, sugar and chopped pecans. Pour half of the mixture into a tube pan, refrigerate until firm. Spread sour cream, then cover with remaining Jello mix and chill in refrigerator until firm. Makes six to eight servings. Keep refrigerated.
Do strawberries have caps or shells?
The answer to this question is simple. Strawberries have hats. You don’t hull the strawberries, but you remove the little green caps. This is properly done with a strawberry caper which can be purchased where you buy your strawberries for around a dollar each. Kitchen departments at Target, Walmart, and hardware stores offer capers. They make capping berries much easier than using a knife and certainly not as messy. Every strawberry lover should have a few in the kitchen drawer. They are an excellent investment. Buy several to gift to friends and family.
Watch blackberries bloom
Blackberries are now in full bloom along roadsides, fields and meadows as they cover Surry County with their snow-white blossoms. Mark and note the areas where they are abundant. Over the next two months they will develop green, then red berries, and by the last June or first July the berries will be black and ready to harvest. Many will be along country roads and easy to pick, just watch out for brambles, remember another name for a wild blackberry is ‘briarberry’.
Skunks wake up
What is this smell? It’s the skunk coming out of hibernation and walking around. No animal has a scent as long as a skunk spraying the area. Even when a motorist hits one on the highway, the smell can be smelled for half a mile. We have an unusual recipe if, by chance, your dog or cat or (God forbid) a family member gets a spray from a skunk. Grandma’s Northampton County recipe for skunk spray was tomato juice which is a mild remedy and not too effective. She used it on her dogs which was on rare occasions. It seems the local paper mill reeked of the skunk population! This foolproof skunk deodorant is a great scented remedy for dogs, cats, and humans. Mix a quarter cup of baking soda, a tablespoon of dish detergent and a quart of hydrogen peroxide. Mix in a two liter bottle and shake gently to mix. Apply to affected areas, avoiding the eyes. Don’t put the lid on the bottle and mix only what you think you need. Discard the rest after application. Use it as you would soap and avoid direct sunlight. Lather the affected area, wait five minutes and have the animal or person wipe and dry. A special note: The reason to avoid direct sunlight is that the peroxide will bleach the hair of dogs, cats, and yes, people.
Hoe hoe hoe
“Pray and lead.” A friend said to another friend, “You drive the car, and I’ll pray.” The other friend said, “What is it, you don’t trust me to drive?” The prayer leader said, “Do you not trust my prayer?
“Clean slate.” A woman came home from a political rally and said to her husband, “It’s okay, we’re going to sweep the country. Her husband said, “Why don’t you start in the kitchen?”
“Tower. Long wind. “We call our pastor the Reverend.” “What do you call yours?” “Never end!”
Today, May Day, is known as May Day. Cinco De Mayo is celebrated on Thursday, May 5. The moon reaches its first quarter on Sunday, May 8. Mother’s Day is celebrated on Sunday, May 8. A total lunar eclipse will occur on the night of May 15, and will be viable across much of the United States, including North Carolina. The start is around 9:30 p.m. and will last until 2:52 a.m. on May 16. The moon will be full on Monday, May 16. The name of the moon will be “Full Flower Moon”. Armed Forces Day will be Saturday, May 21. The moon reaches its last quarter on Sunday, May 22. Memorial Day will be Monday, May 30. The moon reaches its new moon phase on Monday, May 30.