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There is hope around the corner

Carol Ann Gregg flower greenhouse
GREENHOUSE BEAUTY: The array of colors in a local greenhouse can brighten up anyone’s day, especially when spring is around the corner.
Farmhouse Window: It’s been a long winter, but the changing of the seasons will soon be here.

No matter how mild or rough winter has been, spring is always welcome. And the good news is that spring is right around the corner.

Regardless of all the negative things that have been happening around the world, rest assured that the seasons will come and go, bringing continuity to our world.

Planting season is one of the most stressful times for all of us. No matter how ready you are, weather will ultimately determine what gets done.

We have no control over the weather. Lots of farmers get stressed out with optimum planting time and getting work done. The stress is not only on the farmer who wants to be out in the field, but also on the rest of the family.

During these times, everyone needs to take a deep breath (literally) and find something as a distraction, even if for a few hours. Try washing some clothes as a distraction.

On our farm, my husband was the cow man, and his brother and partner was the crop guy. So, I never had to deal with washing spray clothes. But I know that it’s important to use care when washing clothes that have been exposed to pesticides.

In a publication from North Dakota State University, the recommendations are that clothing that’s drenched in pesticides should be discarded. On most farms, that would be a rare occurrence.

The person doing the laundry should wear something with long sleeves, just as the farmer should wear special clothes when working with chemicals. The clothes should be handled separately, and the washing machine should be cleaned before it is used for the family’s regular laundry.

It is recommended that the contaminated clothing be stored in a plastic tote with a lid until it can be washed. This website, cropwatch.unl.edu, has details on how to handle the clothing of a farmer who has been spraying the crops.

Most of the precautions are about minimizing exposure of skin to chemicals.

Gardening season is also right around the corner.

There is something rejuvenating about putting seeds in the ground and knowing that small seedings will grow into mature plants over the next few months.

A couple of years ago, a friend and I took a “greenhouse crawl.” We spent the day driving around our county visiting greenhouses. We were able to fit five locations into the day, made purchases at each location and, of course, had an opportunity to stop at a small diner for lunch.

What a great time we had learning about what each location offered. We also realized that we had only touched a small number of locations that offered wonderful assortments of bedding plants, shrubs and trees.

How do you decide where to get your plants? It was hard not to buy too many plants for the time and space I would have when I got home. It was a great time, and I now know where I will visit if I need something specific.

It’s inspiring to stand in a commercial greenhouse and view the array of colors, textures and designs of early spring. The hanging baskets were beautiful at all the locations we visited.

When we had a chance to visit with the owners of the sites, we learned new techniques and ideas for being more successful with our purchases.

On one of those rainy days when you can’t be in the fields, visit a local greenhouse, enjoy the beauty and take home something to brighten your farmstead or add to your vegetable garden.

Spring is almost here, and we’ll soon be able to enjoy the changing of the seasons.

Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and is a past president of American Agri-Women.

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