Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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February 8, 2013

DIRT ON GARDENING: Will spring arrive early? Maybe yes, maybe no

(Continued)

A FRUIT GROWER’S life is not an easy one. Pesticides must be applied early at what is known as “silver tip” (first emergence of the leaf) and at timed intervals thereafter in order to have disease–free crops, then ripening fruit tested every few days for correct sugar content and ripeness.

It’s all a matter of timing, and weather conditions play an important part. Basically, growers are at the mercy of weather each year during the growing and ripening process.

Nearly all fruit growers who deal in the standard crops of peaches, apples, grapes, cherries, blueberries, apricots, plums, and raspberries hesitate to “put all their chips in one basket,” so to speak, and therefore raise other crops as well like pumpkins, bell peppers, Indian corn and yes, even wheat, soybeans and hybrid corn crops, which aren’t as apt to be affected by wide temperature swings. This practice will soften the blow in case of failure in one or more of their prime fruit crops.

Seed catalogs are in the mail and entertaining orders- massive seed displays will soon, if not already, be on the floors of every entity that deals in gardening. Greenhouse operations are gearing up for March deliveries of planting material which will kick-off the growing season for this year.

SOUND UNBELIEVABLE? Well, it’s true. We’re only a month away from the time greenhouses will start bursting with newly planted green life.

To me, and to the majority of gardeners, there is no sweeter smell than to step into a greenhouse of 68 to 70 degree temperature in the middle of winter. The moisture-laden air and the smell of planting medium (grower’s dirt) will lift the spirit and make you forget the winter blues.

Don’t despair — 30 days isn’t that far away, and we all know April (60 days) is planting time for early flowers and vegetables like pansies and violas and cabbage and broccoli.

 

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