Sunday, May 31, 2009

A time to plant -- and a time to wait

by June

Last year, we could probably have planted tomatoes on May 1 and reaped a fine, early harvest. It was a warm spring that eased steadily into summer. This year not so much. We thought it was bad last Monday night when it hit 33 degrees. But, tonight, sixty-mile gusts are blowing in a deep chill. Frost alerts are out. All in all, it may turn out to be the coldest spring since 1945.

And somehow our black locust trees know this.


Gardeners watch the weather and talk about it. At the farmers' market last week, I ran into the gardener who handed down her beautiful spot to me and of course asked her when she was planning to put out the tomatoes this year. She said she uses a chart based on the phases of the moon. One of my farmer buddies at the market this week said he too was waiting until after the full moon on June 7 -- more than a week after our frost-free date. And then, intriguingly, I read on one of my gardening blog stops that the black locust tree is an indicator of when to plant. When they bloom, the time is right.

I took one look at my black locusts and decided that this year I'm going with them, especially since they concur with all my lunar-watching mentors. The girls and I have been walking around in the garden with our hands tucked in our pockets, and frankly the black locusts look as though they've still got their fingers curled into their pockets. Just look at the contrast between this black locust and its oh-so-leafy neighbors.


So I'm waiting and encouraging my leggy seedlings to bide some more time in the window. What signs do you watch as you garden?

21 comments:

ozark summers said...

the may apples tell alot. when they begin to bloom you are usually safe... but in the ozarks anything is subject to change.

Beegirl said...

We usually wait until after Mother's Day to put stuff in, although we did have some frost after Mother's Day this year. Love the comment above. Our Mayapples were blooming when we planted. Nice!

June said...

I love mayapples. But I have yet to see them in Maine. When we drove from the midwest to the east at the end of April, I saw them springing up at least until Pennsylvania. I do miss them.

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