Article and photos by Joe Mish
RAINFALL: It rained about 2.5 inches in the New Brunswick-Trenton area at the end of last week. So, it will be interesting to see what this week’s drought maps say.
Garbage floating in a Monroe, Middlesex County, drainage ditch
Garbage caught on a tree snag
in Manalapan Brook, Monroe, Middlesex County
NON-POINT SOURCE POLLUTION: During and after the week’s rains, the flow of non-point source pollution was obvious in our waterways. The cost-free way of dealing with it is, do not litter and do not leave stuff out in the yard, then it will not float into waterways.
A spring peeper treefrog, found in the Manalapan Brook floodplain
FROGS: I walked into the swamp hardwood forest of the Manalapan Brook floodplain between Helmetta and Jamesburg early in the week. The sleigh bells-like sound of spring peeper treefrogs, “Pseudacris crucifer crucifer,” was obvious. I also heard monkey chattering-like sound of wood frogs, “Rana sylvatica.”
RASPBERRIES: I planted five bare-root Burpee seed company Caroline raspberry plants.
GARDEN ZONES: Depending on the source, the area is Garden Zone 6 (cooler) to Garden Zone 7 (warmer). That means our last frost generally is April 15 to 30; Our first frost is generally Oct. 11 to 20. Beyond that, I am playing it safe and sticking with Zone 6 for my Helmetta area, Middlesex County, home, although the area becoming a solid Zone 7 because of global warming is likely just around the corner.
OUTDOOR PLANTING FOR SUMMER VEGETABLES AND FRUITS: My rule of thumb is May 20 if it is a warm to normal and, if it is cooler, wait to June 1.
PREPARING PLANTS INDOOR: This year, though, I am trying something new, sowing plants indoors before the outside plant dates. So, I am experimenting with Kaleidoscope Blend Organic and Touchon carrots, Iceberg A lettuce, and Sugar Snap peas, all Burpee, which I began sowing about March 5. I added Rutgers tomatoes about March 25. I plan on sowing more tomatoes – Brandywine Red and Red Cherry, both Lake Valley brand – indoors in the next day or so.
HUMMINGBIRDS: Get the hummingbird feeders up by about April 15 to attract the early “scout” birds and they hopefully will lead later-arriving hummingbirds to the feeders.
NIGHT SKY: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/sky-at-a-glance/this-weeks-sky-at-a-glance-march-31-april-8/.
SUNRISE/SUNSET: Approximate times are April 2, Sunday, 6:40 and 7:23 Eastern Daylight Time; April 3, Monday, 6:38 and 7:25; April 4, Tuesday, 6:36 and 7:26; April 5, Wednesday, 6:35 and 7:27; April 6, Thursday, 6:33 and 7:28[ April 7, Friday, 6:31 and 7:29; an April 8, Saturday, 6:30 and 7:30.
WEATHER: Local weather forecasts are available at http://www.weather.gov/phi/.
Carnegie Lake near the Kingston dam
on the boundary of Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset counties
Joe Sapia, 60-years-old, grew up and lives in the Pine Barrens around Helmetta, where his family has resided for more than 100 years. He can be reached at Snufftin@aol.com or at P.O. Box 275, Helmetta, 08828.