Monday, February 26, 2018

Time for the Spring Planting

With February drawing to a close, it's time to get spring planting moving before it's too late.  Today Mrs. Graybeard and I took a trip to Wally World; going there instead of to the Borg because it coincided with another side trip we had to make.  Unfortunately, their tomatoes and peppers looked awful.  On the one hand, it would make the season more efficient because we couldn't kill them if they're already dead; I mean, think of how quickly we'd be done for the year.  On the other hand, though, that isn't the way we want the year to work out.

They had a pretty hibiscus with big yellow flowers, and since we lost one in Hurricane Irma, this will make a nice replacement.  Since it's on the south side of the house, I need to get this done early in the morning before it gets too hot outside.  Too hot in February?  Around here, the sun can always hurt you - I can recall getting sunburned on the shortest day of the year - and even though it's only going to be 80 (it was 87 by the car's thermometer on the way to Wally World), with the sun both on your back and reflected off the house onto your face, I have no desire to be out there until noon.

The month of February has been quite a bit hotter than our averages, although January marked the first time we've had frost in several years.  For the last week, the official numbers have tended to overnight low close to 67 and the high close to 82.  Averages are 52 and 74.  Thursday could see a high of 90, but it will then get closer to average for a few days.  I had just about given up on not having to run the air conditioner in the shop.

I tell new folks I meet from the more northern parts of the country to just think of our seasons as exactly backwards from theirs.   When people in the northern reaches, say Tennessee and north, are coming out for all their summer activities in April, I'm essentially going inside for the summer.  Likewise when they're knocking off their outdoors activities around Halloween, that's when I'm starting to think it's worth being outside.  They put up with their winter to get their summer, I put up with our summer to get our winter.  In the middle of their winter, nothing grows outside.  In the middle of our summer stuff grows, but we have to do hand to hand combat with bugs that start to resemble the ones in Starship Troopers.

(photo of me with a bug from the tomato plants last July - I'm the one on the right)

It's really going to be nice for a week, we'll definitely get everything planted. 


  1. We have enough room to plant veggies, but I'm not much of a gardener, and neither is the wife.

    Back in Illinois all my hot rod buddies said the same thing about summer and winter. Winter was work-on-the-car time, and spring, summer, and fall was play-with-the-car time.

  2. There will be a greenhouse up at the White Wolf Mine in AZ. I hope to keep the bugs to a more manageable size. Florida bugs are simply larger and more aggressive than they are anywhere else - with the exception of Minnesota mosquitoes, which are as large and aggressive as Messerschmitts.

    1. There are those stories of the Minnesota mosquitoes raping full grown turkeys while standing flat footed on the ground. They're too big to swat, but maybe double tap them with a .22?

      OK, true story: my wife volunteers at a clinic. There's another woman there who came from Africa and said she couldn't stand Florida because there were so many more "creepy crawlies" than where she came from.

  3. I don't know if I should admit this in a public forum or not, but here goes... I planted green onion sets last night. In Central Indiana. There. I said it.

  4. Woke up today in Philly to frost on the windshield.
    And I have a tiny bit of envy that you can start planting at this time of year.
    On the other hand, I don't want to live on Crematoria, and unlike Florida, I don't need an AC unit large enough to recreate the Titanic iceberg.

    1. On the other hand, I don't want to live on Crematoria, and unlike Florida, I don't need an AC unit large enough to recreate the Titanic iceberg.

      There is that. It's a stereotype that people who move to Florida for the warmer weather haaaate when it cools off, while natives tend to be OK with the change of pace. I used to have an officemate from Bahston and when it got cold he was ready to move farther south. I've never seen weather with mornings under freezing for more than two or three days, so it's kind of a "blink twice and it's over" thing here. It's not like we have to plan for driving on ice, have snow tires, crankcase oil heaters and all that.

      And, truth be told, I have done century bike rides (100 miles) in July and August, when it feels like the blacktop on the road is softening. I've been offshore on a boat during the "dog days of August" when it's over 90 by 9AM and dead calm, so it's not like the summer is "Crematoria will kill you" for real. Roofers and construction guys who work outdoors don't go unemployed for the summer (but they do look at your funny when you ride by on a road bike).

      As it is, I'm trading our summer for our winter, while folks up your way are trading winter for the summers. A few more Irmas and I may think that's a bad trade and try to move north.

    2. I always envied the snowbirds. If you could be north - seriously north, not Atlanta or something - in the summer and in Florida in the winter, I think that would be perfect.