In Like a Lamb?

This time of year I replay all the words of wisdom spoken by the farmers on whose shoulders we stand.   And they are words of caution.

ready-for-freezes

Prepped for a freeze in 2015

“If March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion.”

“Beware the Easter freeze. ” The average last freeze date is just that – an average.  Half of last freezes came earlier and half later.  Our last freeze date here in East Texas is March 15.  But the older farmers will always tell you that you aren’t really safe until Easter – this year a full month later, on April 16.

That Easter freeze warning has proven prophetic the last couple of years.

But we’ve been SO warm this spring.  The blueberries are in bloom, peach trees are budding.  We have one apple tree that is already setting fruit.  A spring check in the bee hive shows that they have been gearing up for several weeks already and are moving into full swing.

Plant the tomatoes this early?  Beans?  What if we get that late freeze?  On the other hand, what if we don’t plant and this early warm-up IS our spring this year.  Will we miss the perfect cool weather starts?  What’s a farmer to do?!?

I can tell you what we are busy doing here at Gopher Knoll.   We are in full spring-planting mode.   We’ve set out all the traditional early spring starts – onions and potatoes, carrots and lettuces, sugar snap peas and cool-weather greens like swiss chard and kale.   Most of these will not be seriously hurt by a light freeze.  Our new trees and berries and even the little fig trees are already planted.

We’ve already planted the first round of purple pod beans and summer squash –  protected under a good floating row cover.   They’ve so far survived lows of 29 deg., safe under that row cover.

This week, we’ll set out the first of our tomatoes and finish all the cool-weather transplants like spinach, radicchio and celery that are waiting in the greenhouse.  They go under row cover as well, just to be safe.   Parsley and the more cold tolerant herbs will also go out into the ground – under row cover as necessary.

And if that late freeze does threaten, we’ll tent the blueberries, cover anything else that needs it, put a big feed bucket over the little fig trees and feed the bees.     If worst comes to worst – we’ll replant anything that doesn’t make it.

That’s farming for you.   Best of luck to everyone out there who is struggling with the same decisions.    Peace and good weather to you all.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gloria on March 5, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    I have a couple dozen glass honey jars and lids that were washed in the dishwasher and are now stored a cardboard boxes. Do you or anyone you know have a use for them? I use a lot of local honey every year. Gloria V.

    >

    Like

    Reply

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