Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Folk Wisdom Strikes Back

Beach Blanket Tomato

Old timey wisdom says you can’t plant your spring garden in Colorado until Mother’s Day.

I’ve ignored that take since the day we moved here. I get a kick out of the folk funk, but gimme an online 10 day forecast anytime over a stitch in time saves nine.

The democracy of the dead rose up last night though. The old timers bit us in the butt.

We put our summer garden in the ground a couple of weeks ago. I’ve noticed since we’ve lived here that--in spite of the ancestral wisdom--the last frost comes in late April rather than mid May. The glaciers in Colorado are disappearing rapidly too so I’m guessing we’re in some kind of “mysterious” warmer weather cycle. Who knows what that’s about? :^)

The websites of the Weather Channel and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration promised overnights no lower than 37 this week. So I went to sleep believing in the abundant future of my begonias and dahlias and tomatoes.

I woke up this morning to snow on the ground.

Sweet Jesus, it’s mid May.

There’s no crying in baseball. There’s no snow on the ground in May!

Fortunately we dodged the bullet. The greenery didn't die.

Snow fell because the temps in the upper atmosphere are still really cold here but ground temps never got down to freezing. Weirdly, snow acts as an insulator around plants and keeps em from frosting over. Physics is cool and unexpected.

It’s going to get down below freezing tonight.

We broke out our well rehearsed fall routine when we try to keep our plants and flowers alive as long as we can. Tarps and towels and blankets and buckets and trashcans and cups provide the protection. Most of our neighbors enjoy the show though some of ‘em just shake their heads :^) I like to think we're saving promising futures.

Forecasts call for overnights in the 40’s for the rest of the month. We shouldn’t have to deal with another freeze until late October.

But hey, you never know. This is Colorado.


Blogger limco said...

Colorado weather is a mystery. Saving the plants in spring and as long into fall as possible just seems the right thing to do. After California 's year round growing season it is very hard to watch plants you've nurtured for months die in one night. Keep up those tarps and beach towels and pots and cups. It really is worth it all to have a few more weeks of summer. Save the Plants!

7:23 PM  

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