Gardeners across East Texas are anxious to get the season underway, a planning date that all gardeners need to consider (that is all we can do) Easter will be April 12 and usually, not always, around Easter we have our last killing frost. I believe that all gardeners could be more productive if they kept a “frost blanket /cloth” handy to cover the plants with on nights a frost is predicted. That is for we small gardeners (small in planting area), it seems like we are having more early interest this spring in getting our seed planted early and the transplants available have never been more hardy than those available this season.

I was in a local farm store recently and they were in the process of getting a baby chick order placed. We can usually expect the chicks (day old) around the middle of February.

Recent years have seen more interest in small home flocks for a family egg supply.

One hatchery (in their literature) noted they were furnishing 17 new breeds this season.

Our family has enjoyed a small flock, kept in a big barn for the past few years and the eggs have been useful for the family and friends.

To illustrate the advances in choices that the poultry industry is having this year; Barnevelders, Black Laced Red Wyandottes, Black Orpingtons, Blue Jersey Giants, Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, Blue Rocks, Chocolate Orpingtons, Cream Orpingtons, Cream Legbars, French Black Copper Marans, French Blue Copper Marans, ISA Browns, Lavender Orpingtons, Noir Marans, Olive Eggers, Red Orpingtons and Red Island Blues. The hatchery had all the traditional varieties we have enjoyed for years. Among the new and older varieties of birds the genetic work now includes the temperature tolerance of the breeds and more information.

“Christ won’t transform my problem until I transfer it to him.” Adrian Rogers

“They who patronize the worldly will inevitably fail to evangelize the world.”

W.A. Ward

This is a “leap year”, one extra day for the year and that day will be Feb. 29. This extra day will help to synchronize the earth’s orbit around the sun and the actual passing of the seasons. Why do we need this extra day? Chalk it up to the earth’s orbit around the sun, which takes approximately 365.25 days. It is that .25 that creates the need for a leap year every four years. This information from an almanac I have. I am sure other folks can explain it better but not for me.

When in doubt, follow the instructions and that is what veteran gardeners do and they make the best gardens “year in and year out”.

The passing of time causes us to alter what we do as we prepare our garden spots. My folks as I recall in the 1930s turned the garden spot about four different times between just after Thanksgiving to just before Easter.

My father in law was a cotton farmer and from the time he picked the last bit of cotton until he planted the next year’s crop (with moisture) in early to mid-April he was constantly plowing and trying to get rid of Johnson Grass.

He wanted to catch every drop of rain that fell between his rows. Today some of our most productive crops come from “no till” approaches. Of course we have the use of chemicals to do the job on weeds and insects, plus diseases. The modern methods are the best, just look at the yields for proof.

There is no better way to spend a cold wet day than sitting by a fireplace (better if it burns wood but gas is easier) and reading the 2020 Garden Seed and Flower Catalog.

I would like to know where they make the pictures of fruit and vegetables, ours hardly ever turn out like the seed catalogs produce but it is “good reading and looking”.

As you make your seed selections be sure that they are varieties that thrive in our part of East Texas.

Our local county agent office may have the recommended varieties from research done by Texas A &M.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Men, that is not a date to be forgotten by you … it is always remembered by her, February 14.