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Elizabeth Woodworth: Still too cold outside, even for the peas

 
By Elizabeth Woodworth
Contributing writer
updated: 4/3/2019 12:40 AM

Plant root crops. Dig in new strawberry, raspberry and blackberry plants. Dust roses as new leaves emerge. Put in early sweet corn and head lettuce and peas. Field corn planting is underway throughout the South and the central states. (I think Poor Will didn't foresee the flooding conditions across the South and Midwest. It is going to be some time before fields are dry enough to plant.) Cotton planters plant cotton along the Gulf. After the April 6 cold front passes east, the possibility of damage to flowering fruit trees increases. Destroy tent caterpillars as they hatch. Crabapple and cherry blossom time begins in the Lower Midwest and all across the East. (Countryside)

I have never been in D.C. for cherry blossom time. With my luck, if I were to go, it would be "You should have been here last week" or "You're a week too early." I have to rely on pictures.

My cotton plants have outgrown their oven abode. One is not doing well, seems to be stuck deciding if it wants to put out a leaf or go back to being a seed. The others have not yet gotten their true leaves, but then they have only been in the pot for less than a week. I soaked the seed for several days, didn't intend to but I couldn't remember where the peat pellets were and had to go buy more. So when they were planted, they had already started growing. We can grow cotton in our backyard gardens. Have some spinning friends in Tennessee, and they cannot. It is against Tennessee law to grow cotton unless you have a license for the pesticide that controls boll weevils. If you are found doing so, your plants are confiscated and you get a hefty fine and maybe jail time, and your garden is checked by the state every year. Cotton is a cash crop and the state is very strict. One spinner has a farmer friend who will plant a row or two of colored cotton for her and treat it with his crop. Otherwise, she has to get it from one of us. If the temp hadn't changed enough to kill cotton as a cash crop here, we would be subject to the same laws.

The mock orange has leaves, not as large as a squirrel's ear yet, well maybe a newborn, so it is still a bit early for planting.

Peas are in the ground, about three days late. Don't know who decided that peas and potatoes should be planted on St. Patrick's Day because most years the ground hasn't started warming up. I know that peas are a cold weather crop, but I do think they need some ground warmth. Bean says no peas at her house, the gardens are still covered with several feet of snow. I did get a few things cleaned up, looked at the herbs, doing much better than I expected. I covered them back up, too cool for them and for me.

April 7-13 is National Library Week. On Sunday, April 7 the Friends of the Harrisburg District Library will hold it's annual meeting. The meeting is at 1:30 p.m. followed at 2 p.m. by speaker Chris Benda. His subject will be "Hiking the River to River Trail Across Southern Illinois." Mr. Baden lives in Makanda, is a plant ecologist, teaches at SIUC, and serves a consultant for the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board. The public is invited to attend the meeting and the lecture. Light refreshments will be served.

April 13th is National Library Staff Day. Stop by and say hello, pick up a monthly calendar. I keep saying this is not your Mother's library. My mom would love all that goes on and how many people are using the library. National Pi Day was also National Potato Chip Day. If you had been at the library, you would have taken part in a potato chip survey, tasted seven different flavors and voted for your favorite. Books, videos, computers, Books on Tape, storytime, programs of all sorts, there is something for everyone at the library. No better time than National Library Week to check it out!

Pickle lovers, this is for you. A pizza place in Webster, New York last year started selling pizzas topped with pickles and dill weed. Pizza purists are not impressed. There is map in the store that has pins showing where the customers who come in for one are from. One couple flew in from NYC to pick up two to go. The pickle has risen to an it-flavor for everything from Sonic slushies to Boom Chicka Pop popcorn. It is even being swirled into ice cream. At the Lucky Pickle Dumpling Co., in NYC, the pickle soft serve is made with cucumber juice and a little salt (Rachael Ray Magazine). I like bread-and-butter pickles on burgers, salt and vinegar chips, but I'm a bit picky about my pizza and ice cream flavors. If the craze gets here, maybe someone brave will give me a bite or two to try.

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." (Frederick Douglass)