Sunday, January 24, 2010

Was It Only A Week Or So Ago?

The first thing I want to say is thank you for all the birthday comments yesterday ... much appreciated.



Was it only a week or so ago that we were freezing down here in Florida?

I vaguely remember conditions so cold that ponds froze, beards were needed, and gloves were for warmth, not protection.

Today, it's not even 8:00 am and the temperature is 64.
Yesterday, I shed my shirt and slapped on some sunscreen while working in the blueberry patch.

Two weeks ago I bundled up in layers and gloves just to rake some pine straw.


In the southwest corner of PFHQ I planted rows of pines years ago. The one in the picture was already there, my planted pines are not quite that big yet, but they are big enough to produce a nice carpet of pine needles for me.
Pine straw is a really good mulch for my blueberry bushes and it's a lot more fun to rake it in cold, low humidity weather. So, I grabbed my trusty, very rusty, garden cart and headed into the piney corner.

We use this old cart for everything and it is starting to show it's age. The rusted handle broke off a few weeks ago when Junior was hauling a load of firewood, so he rigged this rope in it's place.
I made a few trips back and forth that day ...



That twiggy dead looking stick between you and the cart is a young, dormant blueberry bush. There are about 4 in a row in this area that are the newbies. They've only been in the ground for a year or two and never had any decent mulch so they should enjoy the pine needles.
All of that blueberry maintenance above was on January 9th when we were enduring a record breaking series of freezing days.
Yesterday, I transplanted a couple of big blueberry bushes from pots to ground. They had started out as little bare root babies, about a foot tall in a box of 4 from Sams.
At the time I potted them so I could nurture them a little, rather than just sticking them in our sand and saying, "Good luck little blue dudes!"
Somehow, two seasons slipped by, and they were 4 feet tall and really, really, ready to get out of those pots.
Planting them, I noticed one potentially disastrous effect of the long cold period we just went through.
Their buds are swelling ... one was actually opening.
Poor little guys think they've been through a whole winter due to all those chilling hours,
It's only late January, there are more freezes to come ... maybe really bad ones based on this year's record so far.
If those blues bud out and then we have a hard freeze, my summer blueberry crop is toast.
Let me tell ya, a lack of blues will really give me the blues come harvest time.

11 comments:

Wren said...

I've heard that old fa-- people feel the cold more than others. :)

robin andrea said...

Great idea using those pine needles to mulch your blueberries. We are living in pine country, and the forests are plushly carpeted in needles. I can see blueberries in our future! Good luck with yours.

Anonymous said...

And you'll be singing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoCiKtRc9kw&feature=related

So blu...blu.....blue~!

P

cndymkr / jean said...

Your talk about blueberries makes me think about the Blue Man Group. Weird.

Master Basho said...

Blueberry binging.
Juicy ice-crystal coated.
Lips and fingers stained.

amarkonmywall said...

Is Wren suggesting that we mulch ourselves? Happy Birthday, dear blogging buddy! In honor of that- no more freeze days and lots and lots of blueberries. (Although we are still seeing things brown that got hit by that cold snap- it's like a time delay of mass destruction.)

Wren, you know, will be here in Florida end of the week. Don't you have a child in Tampa? C'mon down for a St. Pete Brasserie dinner and meet one more friend from the 'hood.

SophieMae said...

Cheese Louise! I get engrossed in Africam (check it out!) a couple days and you turn a year older?! Besides, didn't you just have a b'day a couple months ago?

Listen, don't EVEN make me think there'll be any more cold. I've had more than enough of that. Between the cold and the rain... Did y'all get any of that, BTW? We just about had to row out to the cars.

Anyhow, happy birthday all over again! (Though I still think you're cheating and throwing yourownself a b'day bash 3-4 times a year.) 8-}

Anonymous said...

FC-
Happy belated B-day! Can I grow Longon fruit when we get moved down there?
Lightnin

Anonymous said...

FC-
I meant Longan fruit! Bought some this weekend and I'm hooked on 'em!
L

Thunder Dave said...

Happy late birthday!
The same thing happens up here especially when we get an early cold snap followed by an unseasonable warm spell, the plants think it's spring and start budding!

Floridacracker said...

Wren,
Why would old famous people feel ... oh, you didn't mean famous ...

Robin,
They are just about the easiest fruit to grow in my opinion. Do it!

Patio,
:)


Jean,
Well, they are blue after all.


MB,
Way to channel a hi karate poem!

Vicki,
Thanks! That invite is very tempting. Must check with Space Command and see what my schedule looks like.

Sophie,
Only one birthday a year, I promise! We did get a nice rain and now it's chilly again.

Lightnin,
Thanks sweetie! Longan is pretty cold sensitive. You might get by with a potted one in a greenhouse, but this winter would have zapped it deader then a doornail.

Dave,
Thanks! Got my fingers crossed on those buds.