Sunday Morning Open Thread

this late spring is killing me arlo n janis
(Arlo & Janis via
Yeah, it’s too early for tomato plants in New England anyways. But whatever inconspicuous spores and molds are blossoming profusely right now have kicked my allergies into overdrive all week, and yet there isn’t so much as an open daffodil to console me for all the work I can now see needs to be done in the yard…

Who’s having better luck with their gardens, right now? Apart from that whole April-is-the-cruelest-month anomie, what’s on the agenda for the day?

41 replies
  1. 1
    Ruckus says:

    Making salsa and guacamole for watching moto gp. Fresh and organic is best but if we waited for me to grow stuff we’d all starve. Cooking I can do, growing not so much.

  2. 2
    Karmus says:

    Spring is sure here in NW Florida. The truck is so coated with pollen I’m surprised the bees haven’t flown off with it. That’s assuming there are enough bees left.

  3. 3
    Nicole says:

    Spent yesterday at Aqueduct race track, watching one of the prep races for the Kentucky Derby- lovely, if cold, day. Today is all about work, assuming the restaurant that is going into our apartment building has given the construction guys the day off because otherwise the noise here is brutal. It’s been crazy- they’re supposed to be working 9-6, Mon-Fri, but they’ve started just ignoring that. They were caught installing sheet rock at 1AM. Argh.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    Upstate NY is still cold.

    I’ll be making a garlic-studded pork-loin with cabbage, onions, and carrots in my f*ck-me red Cassoulet pot today. Maybe throw in a couple of apples.

    And somewhere in there, I’ll be watching my Yankees continue their disasterous start.
    GO CC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. 5
    Linda Featheringill says:

    My plans for a garden have changed. I was going to do several grocery-bag containers but the plan has officially shifted to putting a garden in the ground. But that garden has to be dug first. And SOME FAMILY MEMBERS will have to go out to the recycling center to pick up mulch.

    Plan B is to go with the containers and store-bought dirt. The end result will probably be some combination of the two.

    I plan to encircle my tomato plants with corn for the tomatoes to climb on. Has anyone done that? Can the corn stalks hold the weight?

    Spring is coming. We’ve probably past the last frost in Philly. Or almost, anyway. Ground is still cold, though.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    It’s busted out big time here. Azalea’s, cherry trees and tons of other blooms. Of course the dreaded pine pollen started to accumulate on car hoods yesterday too. We had two trees taken out to make room for the addition so I made a couple of nice paths around the yard.

  7. 7
    c u n d gulag says:

    What they trying to do to be quiet, using velvet-covered hammers?

  8. 8

    Partly cloudy and 81 is the forecast for Miami today, so I may get out the antique car and take it to Quaker meeting. Other than that, I’ll do the NY Times crossword and engage in some serious fiction writing this afternoon if I don’t succumb to the sweet tempting siren song of a nap.

  9. 9
    Nicole says:

    @c u n d gulag: I think the owner of the new restaurant has gone from being amenable to working with the tenants to giving us a big fat middle finger. It’s been awful. It started in September and I’m still being woken at 7AM by drills and hammers and you name it. We at least had the weekends to recover, but not now. I think he’s behind schedule (and the place has gone from a proposed champagne/wine bar to a champagne wine bar with tapas to now a full restaurant) so I’m expecting he’s also totally reneged on his promises to install creosote to muffle the sound (I think I spelled that right). We’re on the 3rd floor and afraid we’ll have to move.

    On the bright side (and this sounds awful) most new restaurants do fail. I hate that I’m thinking that.

  10. 10

    Southern Maryland here. I think it’s finally OK to plant tomatoes. But up until just a few days ago, it’s been downright bitter much of the time.

    I won’t mow the lawn until next weekend, if then, and I’ve never had such a late first mowing, going back 20 years of being a homeowner.

  11. 11
    c u n d gulag says:

    Yeah, it might get noisy, but it’s “only” a restaurant.

    Think of what might happen if it closes – the next person might open up a Live Country Music Honkey-tonk & BBQ joint, with open pits for the meat, and open-mic nights for C&W wannabe’s.

  12. 12
    geg6 says:

    It’s been (FINALLY!) a beautiful and perfect spring weekend here in Western PA. We have hyacinths blooming and the daffodils and tulips will be blooming any day now. John got mulch and mushroom compost yesterday, so when the tomatoes and peppers we started in the greenhouse can go in as soon as it’s safe. But today is too early, so it’s house cleaning today. We used the grill for the first time this year last night for steaks. Gonna make tuna steaks on it tonight, with pineapple salsa, some soba noodles and snow peas. Yummy!

    As for that long thread of John’s last night about whether we should wish people dead? I wish every day that Darth Cheney would die. And I not only don’t feel bad about it, but it makes me happy to think of all the horrible ways I’d like to see him suffer and die. I’ll dance with joy when it happens and, when they bury him, I will do whatever I have to do to be able to travel wherever it may be so I can drop trou and piss on that grave. I felt the same way about Reagan, but he was so out of it when he died, it wasn’t nearly as satisfactory as I’d hoped because only his wife and family suffered and I kinda like Ron Jr. and Patty.

  13. 13
    donnah says:

    SW Ohio has been cold for weeks and there are still a few filthy piles of snow lingering in parking lots. But yesterday was warmer and today warmer still, so we’re hoping for a real Spring now.

    My son made plans to come home from Charlotte NC for the weekend, meaning he would leave Charlotte after work Saturday and drive back seven hours, arriving here by midnight. First thing he got stuck in traffic by someone’s car accident. He got through that, only to get stuck again by another. He made good time until he got within three hours of home and had a flat tire.

    His AAA had lapsed just a few weeks ago and he didn’t realize it. We called them, added him on as a member, and my husband drove out to meet him. My son couldn’t loosen the nuts on the tire, so AAA came and helped him get the spare on. My husband then followed him back home, and they had to drive under fifty mph.

    I waited up until 2:30 and fell asleep. They didn’t get home til after 5:00. So this morning will be lost to them catching up on sleep and my son will have to get a new tire and then he’ll leave tomorrow morning.


  14. 14
    tybee says:

    how big do eggplants get? i’ve got 3 six foot plants that didn’t die in the winter…

  15. 15
    normal liberal says:

    @Linda Featheringill:
    I’ve never tried the corn as tomato support thing, and it strikes me as counterproductive. How many stalks of corn per tomato plant did you have in mind? My visceral reaction is that the corn might suck up resources the tomatoes need, and block a lot of light. How do you plan to ancher the tomatoes to the corn? I don’t think the leaves on the cornstalk will support vines with full-sized tomatoes.

    Again, I’ve never tried this, and I could easily be completely wrong. Just remember to wear long sleeves; take it from a former detassler, corn leaves will attack.

  16. 16
    satby says:

    Daffodils and squill are starting to bloom (finally) here in SW MI. I went a bit overboard on buying tomato plants this year, ordered grafted ones: indigo rose, pineapple, and Cherokee purple (8 total). And non-grafted orange whopper and chocolate cherry tomatoes too, started regular red ones from seed. Some are going in my Eathbox, the rest in the garden. We were planning where to put the squash and melons and peppers yesterday. But I live in farm country so I’m becoming very hardcore about not wasting effort growing what I can buy fresh and cheap less than a mile from my house. So exotic colors of tomatoes and potatoes are my main crops. Did I mention the nlue potatoes? Yum!

  17. 17
    satby says:

    Blue potatoes. Can’t get edit to work on the mobile.

  18. 18
    Nicole says:

    @c u n d gulag: Oh, he’s planning live music, too. Out on the back patio, which is surrounded by buildings, so it’s going to be the best sound canyon ever. And we’ve been so happy hear until now. I weep.

  19. 19
    Josie says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Usually the grouping is corn, beans and squash – corn to grow tall, beans to grow up the corn stalks and squash to cover the ground underneath. I’ve never seen tomatoes done that way and doubt that the corn stalks could hold them. My tomato plants even give their cages a hard time.

  20. 20
    c u n d gulag says:

    I was just kidding.

    I hope you’re just renting, because if it’s a condo or co-op, you might not have the flexibility to move – depending on the price, at any given time.

  21. 21
    HinTN says:

    Planted three apple trees and two pear trees yesterday. Put 6 foot diameter wire cages around then to fend off the deer. Those busterds have made me give up gardening. They even went after the tomatoes last year and I just will not build a fence. Temp hit low 70s yesterday and prospects are good for that today. Cherry trees have gone wild these last two days.

  22. 22
    Schlemizel says:

    HA! I live out here on the frozen tundra where we still have snow piled in shady spots and on North-facing slopes. We are about 8 weeks away from ‘last frost’ when I can put the tomatoes out. If I start fussing about late spring now it will be a very long 2 months

  23. 23
    WereBear says:

    @geg6: Proof of Karma:

    Death of Stalin

    I did some small-group work in college with someone who volunteered at a hospice one summer. The most striking thing he remembered is that the nastiest people also had the greatest fear of death; and the one whose relatives confided had done some absolutely horrible things was utterly panicked.

    And that they died basically alone, and unable to be comforted.

  24. 24
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    April IS the cruelest month. Today’s the day to download TurboTax and get started. Ugh.

  25. 25
    MomSense says:

    The snow is almost all gone–except for weird ice/sand/dirt formations in shady places.

    No bulbs are poking through–just lots of downed branches, leaves, some shrubs that have some broken spots–because of the weight of the snow, and some sad looking fruit trees I suspect were tricked into budding a little too early.

    I also notice that a majestic evergreen has become about 1/3 brown. It is looking like I will be doing a lot of just repair and maintenance instead of putting in some new beds this spring.

  26. 26
    quannlace says:

    Still gotta drag my huge bag of potting soil out of the trunk and get my seeds started. In NJ it’s supposed to get near 60 today. I’ll believe it when I see it. I think my chives have finally died off; they should be poking up in the herb bed by now. All I can see is a tiny patch of parsley, which is very hardy.

    Yeah, how can allergies be kicking in so hard if nothing is growing? The worst of both worlds.

  27. 27
    smintheus says:

    @satby: Bought some blue seed potato yesterday, Adirondack Blues. Have been growing the Adirondack Reds for several years and love them, so now we’ll try their cousins.

  28. 28
    muddy says:

    @WereBear: I’ve seen this close-up. I had thought it was because she was a believer, and knew in her heart at the end that she would not be going to heaven. “Make sure they put me on a respirator!”

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:


    On the bright side (and this sounds awful) most new restaurants do fail.

    Well, pissed-off neighbors can certainly help things along by being rude to the customers…

  30. 30
    muddy says:

    @quannlace: I got a pollen alert in my email this morning naming various trees. I can’t see that any of them is visibly budding out though. It’s been quite cold. But at least bright, thank the gods! I have been getting a lot done in the house.

  31. 31
    jnfr says:

    I have tomato seedlings popping up under the grow lights next to my Legal in Colorado pot plants. Tickles me no end.

    We got the wood and corner pieces to build raised beds number three and four. The tomatoes and eggplants will go there.

    I also have some lettuce and spinach to set out, but there’s a rabbit that’s taken to visiting my back yard and I’m thinking out how to keep them safe. Need to get my onion sets and shallots into the ground too.

    Since I’m also in the middle of finishing my novel, it’s going to be a very busy week.

  32. 32
    Nicole says:

    @Roger Moore: Yeah- I’m thinking it’s not going to be pretty. Truly, I’m hoping for the best, but after watching the cooling vent get installed outside our window, without a speck of any sort of sound muffling material on it, I’m not hopeful.

    @c u n d gulag: We’re renters, which is helpful. except I fear the restaurant will (finally) open just after we have to renew our lease, so we’ll be stuck for at least a year. I think in NYC you can sometimes get out of leases if you can make the case that the living environment changed markedly during the lease from what was promised, but I’m not sure how unpleasant things have to get before a judge will rule you can get out of the lease without penalty. But yeah, better than owning, for sure, in this case.

  33. 33
    Yutsano says:


    I also have some lettuce and spinach to set out, but there’s a rabbit that’s taken to visiting my back yard and I’m thinking out how to keep them safe

    Get a dog! Wabbits do not like puppehs.

  34. 34
    jnfr says:


    Dog allergies, plus two very anti-dog cats. I’m thinking motion-controlled sprinkler.

  35. 35
    Yutsano says:

    @jnfr: If you can get it, coyote urine is suppose to deter rabbits as well. I would think you could find that in Colorado.

  36. 36
    jnfr says:


    That’s an excellent suggestion.

    There are coyotes all over around here. They’re so bold they try to grab people’s puppehs and kids when people are out walking. Which is probably why the rabbit likes our back yard so much.

    Hell, I’ve seen foxes walking boldly through the front yards on this street. We’ve got some wildlife for sure.

  37. 37
    Persia says:

    We just planted seedlings yesterday. Seriously considering doing some raised beds with the bricks behind the garage whose purpose I have never understood. It’s my house now, so fuck, I can do what I want.

  38. 38
    staci says:

    @jnfr: Jeez, I thought I had it bad with lots of raccoon, possum and stray (pregnant) cats using my yard for their bathroom. I was out there cleaning up yesterday, and it was almost unbearable. I was wishing for a coyote or fox, although it doesn’t help that I have a neighbor that throws out food every morning.

  39. 39
    tom says:

    Screw the garden. We’ve got a couple of maples that are producing monstrous amounts of sap and we are boiling it into the most amazing syrup I have ever tasted. It is indescribable.

  40. 40
    rea says:

    Here in Michigan, one of my clients is landlord for a national chain restaurant, headquartered in California. Last week the client got a letter from the chain, saying that they’d written him a letter in December complaining that all the flowers in the planters outside the restaurant were dead, and here it was the beginning of April already, and the problem had not yet been addressed, and that they were invoking their remedies under the lease for a maintenance default.

    My eyes hurt from rolling . . .

  41. 41
    Gus says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Finally OK to plant tomatoes? Won’t be for two months here in MN. I did see a couple green chive stalks poking through, so we’re on our way.

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