The Right Time to Plant a Garden
By Uncle Joe
Virginia Beach, Virginia
January 27, 2016 4:55pm CST
Quite often, we get a lot of false Springs. That is when the sun comes out and the temperatures go up, making the plant population come to life before it’s natural time. I remember back in March of 1971, half of February and most of March had presented Virginia Beach with an early Spring. Grass growing, Cherry and Dogwood blossoms everywhere, and so warm that I had already pulled out my Summer shirts. Yet, to our surprise, on March 26th we had one of the worst blizzards the East Coast had ever known. I can easily remember the exact date because this was my wedding day. We were overwhelmed that it would snow so late in the season. Especially after all the spring-like weather we had been enjoying. I can’t say that the cold covering hurt the grass, but it sure killed off all of those early blossoms. It also killed the crops that were already growing above ground. Any plant that was coming into season before it’s time. The strangest part about the whole thing was that the Farmer’s Almanac predicted the storm and even moved planting dates past March 30th for that year. Only a handful of local farmers must have been relying on that little publication. A lot of folks swear by the Almanac and would never consider planting until it said to in print. I don’t know how they do it, but the book has always proved to be fairly accurate. Nevertheless, have you ever wondered what signs farmers used before the Almanac existed? They had a reliable means for determining when it was safe to plant. A trick they learned from the Native Americans who raised food crops every year. Today’s farmers buy seed that has been genetically altered, covered in pesticides and preservatives, one to keep it from being eaten, and the other to prevent rot before germination. The latter allows the farmer a wider planting time frame. They can now plant when the land is still cool. In the old days, working with a more sensitive seed, planting had to wait until the ground was completely warm. The Indians taught the settlers and infallible means of determining when it was safe enough to plant. A buck would simply drop his breach-cloth and sit his naked butt right down on the ground. If the dirt felt cool at all then it was still too early to plant. Wouldn’t this practice be a big hit with your local garden club?
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