For the past 2 weeks the North Country sky, ponds, lakes and corn fields have been full of geese. These are the Canadian geese that fly south in the fall and return north in the spring. Seems like when the ground and water is open they tend to hang around but this year with the cold and moderate snow cover they headed further south. The noisy flocks are sometimes hundreds strong and they can cover 180 degrees of the horizon.

At night they bed down near water or often in vacant corn fields, picking up the remnants of last seasons corn crop. They also pick the freshly spread manure. Cow manure is no more than parcialy digested hay and grain and the birds have a good meal picking up the parts the cows didn’t use.
Another good sign is the ice is finally melting off the mill pond. At this writing the water is just beginning to show through.

And the cherry on the top is the nice warm and dry weather we have been having. The absents of rain has allowed the ground to dry up as it thaws and that means no muddy path to the greenhouse. Even the hole in front of the greenhouse door is dry. Last fall we removed the pavers from in front of the door so that when the frost heaves them we can still get the door open.

This week we are finishing up the geraniums and started about 500 tomatoes for the cooperative extension bucket gardens. We use ” Early Girl” which is a determinate variety that are perfect for containers. We start them right in 6 packs, 8 packs to a flat to save time and trouble form transplanting them from bulk flats. The seeds are gently buried about 1/4 inch deep, watered and covered with clear plastic wrap. We check them every day and uncover them as soon as they begin to poke their heads out of the mix.

So the rest of this week we will finish the geraniums and start the marigolds. We start them just like the tomatoes, in the packs. If one plant fails to germinate we just pull one from another pack. In the past we would plant many seeds in one bulk flat, then transplant them into 6 packs when they sprouted. This is time consuming and tedious work so last year we planted directly into the 6 packs with good results. As I remember the old bulk method was a result of not having enough space for starting seeds but now that we have greenhouse space that problem no longer exists.

A quick look at the weather shows at least 6 days of 40 to 50 degree weather with sun so it looks like our luck is holding. The only problem is we can not leave a hose out at night because it would freeze, so we must drag it in every night. This would not be a problem but for the fact that the hose is 150 feet long and fairly heavy. Maybe we could just try leaving it out once…

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