Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring has Arrived!

Spring has arrived in Austin, TX.  It seemed to come suddenly and earlier than normal.  The signs that I am especially enjoying are the smell of my Mexican Plum tree blossoms, the special sight of Sandhill Cranes heading north, bluebonnets and spiderwort wildflowers blooming, and watching birds collecting nesting material.  The cardinals are making music.  The grackles are doing dances.  It’s a beautiful time of year.  Another super surprise was one of the apartment chickens had a batch of chicks.  Our apartment has chickens, 2 hens and a rooster.   They escaped from someone else’s yard and just run around pecking and cockle-doodle-do-ing. 

One reason that spring caught me off guard is that this year is so different from last year.  Last winter, we had freezing weather followed by a severe drought.  This year we have had a warm winter, and above average rainfall.   Gardening with so much variation can be a challenge.  This is my fourth spring planting season in Austin, and each year is unique.   Both this year and last I planted broccoli and peas on Jan 20, but last year everything froze.  I was able to replant the peas, but didn’t get any broccoli.   My pea and broccoli plants are growing like mad this year.  Hopefully it doesn’t get too hot too soon before we get some veggies.  I usually plant tomatoes in the 2nd week of March with the knowledge that everything could still freeze.   So far, I’ve planted 2 tomato plants with the intention to plant at least 4 more.  Some people planted tomatoes about 2 weeks ago, and the plants are doing well.  I appreciate farmers who actually grow things for a living, and allow me to run to the grocery store. 

What signs of spring do you enjoy the most?

What gardening tricks have you learned?   

Spiderwort bloom

Red Admiral on Mexican Plum
Zoom in to find chicks.

Fuzzy picture taken through
our bathroom window screen.
You have to be very sneaky
 to get a photo of these chicks!