Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's New At The Farm? 2/25/09

2/25/09 BLM

Another snowstorm! Well, that's one step closer to spring. At least the temps have warmed up and some melting is occurring. The banks are getting a bit high but it'll go fast once the weather pattern changes a bit.

Looking back on then past five years of writing this column; I see this time of year is when I get low on things to write about. You can only say so much when the snow's deep and it's still cold. There isn't much wildlife out and about – other than the occasional skunk and a few birds; mostly turkeys and ravens. The turkeys are wandering a lot in search of food; I have seen many at the base of bird feeders picking up wasted bird seed.

I also saw a mature Bald Eagle on Saturday picking up fish the ice fishermen left on the ice. He wasn't wasting any time either; as soon as the group would leave he would swoop down and pick up any leftovers. The deer must be yarded up what with all the snow as I haven't seen much sign lately.

The snow is getting rather high up on the sides of the greenhouses. Most of our greenhouses are Gothic styles and the snow slides off readily – that is if it has a place to slide off to. We left room enough for the bucket loader to go between the houses and keep the snow cleaned out. Snow removal is much better now that we have a tractor with a cab and heat. No one wanted to plow snow with the old loader but now that we have a tractor with a cab and heat and a radio I can't seem to get near it. I purposely came in an hour early a couple of weeks ago to plow, but it was all done when I arrived.

I plowed snow here at Johnny's Research Farm in Albion for approximately 20 years. Most of the time was with a nearly antique John Deere 401C with a snow bucket. Yep, that's the height of luxuries that old tractor had. Two wheel drive, chains, no cab, heater or radio; yeah them were the good old days. We bought our first truck with a plow on it three or four years ago and that was some change. Of course I didn't get to use that either. I think driving a tractor in the winter is just about the coldest job I can think of; not much heat coming off the engine but on the other hand there's plenty of fresh air.

The days are getting longer; I can do my chores before it gets dark. The hens appreciate that. As the days get longer I feel more like doing something other than sitting in front of the TV. I've watched everything at least once and now am working on watching shows the second time around. I have managed to clean a path through my workshop so I can work out there a few nights a week. I've got about half the parts cut out for thirty new bird houses and should be able to finish them within a week or two at the most. A couple more projects and I'll be ready to start working more outside. New window boxes and some new chicken nests and I'll be already for spring.

Until next week - I'm going out and snowblow a spot to put my lawn chairs.


Unknown said...

Could you tell me when you should plant shelling peas? I have looked all over the net and can't find when they should be planted in Virginia. I live between Richmond and Williamsburg. Thanks for your help

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

Here is the chart I use for planting dates. Find out your frost free date and fill out the dates.,7518,s1-5-19-212,00.html

Tiny URL:

Be sure to read the detailed growing instructions in Johnny's catalog, it gives general dates and soil temperature requirements.

the webmaster at Johnny's Selected Seeds said...


Our go-to person in the call center says the following:

Well…the last frost date is expected to be around April 10 for the area near Williamsburg and the coast, and I would estimate the peas could be planted two weeks prior or beginning April 1.

I think the Massachusetts earlibird gardeners try to plant about Patriots’ Day April 19, and their last expected frost is April 30. Boston MA and inland Virginia including Richmond are in the same summer climate zone on my growing charts from the American Hort. Society.

So Somewhere in between those dates…Benjamin W

-Daria, the webmaster