February NEWS & NOTES
What unseasonably warm weather in January! Plants are responding to the warm weather by leafing out and blooming about a month early.Wildlife is also active right now. Gold Finches are migrating through the area, in small flocks, visiting feeders. Ospreys are beginning the nesting season and are flying high all along the coast. Bluebirds are choosing housing for the first brood of the year, and purple martins should be arriving quickly.
We have bluebird houses available - it is great fun to have these beautiful birds around your landscape and watch the process and progress of the hatchlings. Bluebird house need to be 5' to 6' off the ground, facing an open area. Our bluebird houses are made locally, have a side that lifts for clean-out or viewing, and sell for $22.00. We also have chickadee, titmouse, and flycatcher houses available.
Most of the observable insects also seem to be on the scene earlier than usual - not just butterflies, but aphids, mites, thrips, and many others are already making their presence known. We are already seeing ladybugs in great number - hopefully they (and other beneficials) will keep the balance.
For gardeners, this balance of nature can make planting times more crucial. Summer squash is a good example of a plant affected by the timing of the gardener. In the past, the accepted time to plant squash seeds was after the last frost date (for us, about Mar. 1st). In recent years, we have recommended planting about two weeks earlier, to get ahead of the squash vine borer. The larval stage of this insect feeds inside the stems of squash, killing the stem (and usually the plant). Even if the plant had to be covered in a late freeze, the extra two weeks could increase the number of squash produced before the insect population could do their damage. We have no idea what to recommend about planting summer squash this year! The vine borers could already be active.
We can recommend a squash variety that tastes like summer squash and is usually unaffected by vine borers. This variety is called "tatuma" and is a vining squash that produces a green round fruit, best picked when it is about 3" in diameter. The seeds for tatuma squash and other spring vegetables, flowers, and herbs are in stock now, as are seed potatoes.
Assuming that the weather will stay on the warm side, we will be ordering more plants to arrive in the next two weeks. Most of the growers that supply our plants will not yet have all of the warm season plants, but trees, shrubs, and many perennials will be available. We have a good supply of herbs in stock now, and hope to have basil by next week. A shipment of glazed pottery is also expected to arrive in that same time span.
As we continue to reorganize our space inside the shop, we are marking down the prices on items that we plan to discontinue. Many items are half-price. We invite you to take advantage of our re-arranging and get some good discounts. This is an ongoing process, so more items are being put on sale daily.
We know that all of you are thinking about planting - gardeners just can't help it this time of year! This is the perfect time to plan your landscape changes. Please stop in or give us a call, if we can be of help. On site consultations are also available.
Our business hours will remain the same for the month of Feb.: We are open Thurs., Fri., and Sat. 9:00 am until 4:30 pm.
A volunteer garden organization is being formed. Almost everyone, no matter how challenged, can participate in horticultural activities on some level, and the purpose of this program is to provide opportunities for people to grow, by connecting (or reconnecting) with nature. If you are interested in participating, proposing ideas, or just finding out more, there will be an organizational meeting held at The Garden Gate on Wed. Feb. 20th at 1:00 P.M. (This meeting time is subject to change, so please let us know if you plan to attend, or call before you come.)
We hope to see you soon!