The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 24, 2013

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Groundhog got it wrong; spring waits a little longer

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Spring was supposed to have sprung by the time you read this column. I was supposed to have been working in our gardens most of last week.

I wrote the original version before taking off for spring break, but what a laugh Mother Nature has been having since then. On Sunday, I was forced to admit defeat and acknowledge that sometimes a groundhog — and a calendar — can be wrong.

Hubby had done the heavy lifting of getting bags of soil amendments for our raised-bed veggie gardens. Our garden tools were sharpened and oiled. I bought our sons new pairs of gardening gloves, as they had outgrown last year’s.

We’d all picked out seeds and browsed nursery catalogs and circled important dates on Extension Service planting calendars.

We spent the one nice day of our vacation — March 19, I think it was? — digging out weeds and raking up the remainder of last year’s leaves.

We were so, so ready.

Community Garden makes plans

I had seen similar signs throughout our community that the growing season was upon us. The Pittsburg Community Garden had announced plans to kick off what its volunteers hope will be a fruitful year.

Each year, they plant, tend and harvest thousands of pounds of fresh produce, which they donate to the Wesley House food bank. If you can’t help them with the physical labor, this year you could help with several fundraisers they’ve slated to pay the water bills and other expenses, which top $1,000 annually.

From May 4-11, the group plans to have a selection of beautiful and whimsical pots planted with blooms on display and up for bid at Meadowbrook Mall. Winning bidders can take home pots just in time for Mother’s Day.

Looking ahead to late summer, the group’s annual ice cream social is slated for Aug. 10. Homemade ice cream makers compete for bragging rights, while guests enjoy trying new as well as classic flavors. Mark your calendars.

Farmers market gears up

Vendors with the Pittsburg Farmers Market also held their first meeting of the season, gearing up to open April 13. The market will be open through the end of October on Wednesdays and Saturdays, rain or shine, at Second Street and Broadway.

The market is open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and from 7:30 a.m. until noon Saturdays. Visitors are encouraged to visit the market the final Saturday of each month, known as “Sampler Saturday,” when vendors will have samples available for tasting.

The market is producer-only, meaning everything at the market is grown (or created) and sold by the vendors, all based within a 75-mile radius of Pittsburg.

It’s hard to imagine all of that now as I make adjustments to this column. Looking out the window at our gardens now blanketed in white, with the cold north wind blowing, I guess I’ll just have to go back to browsing those nursery catalogs and wait for spring a little longer.

It’s just gotta be out there somewhere.

Readers: Are you a home gardener who is trying out a unique variety of produce this year, a new method of growing something, or do you have a tip to share that might make life easier for fellow Four-State gardeners? Please drop me a line. I’d like to include you in a new project.

Follow Andra Stefanoni on Facebook at facebook.com/andrajournalist and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

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