Does Spring Seem Ahead of Schedule?

Spring is advancing ahead of schedule, or so it seems here in our corner of New Mexico.   Temperatures already have repeatedly hit the 80’s.  We’ve seen the first toad of the year soaking in our pond.  Last year, according to our records (yes, we keep records of such things), we didn’t see the first toad until well into April.

Apple Buds, Ready to Open

All around us we have seen cherry blossoms, pear blossoms, peach blossoms, and even apple blossoms.  Pretty as these are, this is a disturbing development because, if we get a cold snap – and I have recorded snow at my house as late as May – then we’re likely to lose much of our fruit and even some more tender plants.

I’m debating whether or not to plant cold weather crops such as carrots, radishes, and arugula.  Usually I’d wait – mostly because the high winds can bury the tiny seeds if I plant too soon –but I’m wondering if I wait if I’ll miss the best time to get these plants started.  Radishes tend to bolt and go woody if planted when the temperature has already risen.  Carrots don’t do much better.

It’s funny to realize that if I had a chance to gaze in a crystal ball, what I’d want to check would be the temperature trends for the next four weeks.

This winter finally did for an apple tree Jim and I put in over twenty years ago.  That tree had never been strong, but we kept working with it.  Still, this year I could see that the fight was over.  Last weekend, we dug out the base, then loosened up the soil, removing as many Bermuda grass roots as possible.   (No.  I didn’t plant the grass.  It’s the unwelcome heritage of a prior owner.)

We figured that we’d have plenty of time to get a new tree.  Most years, our apple tree doesn’t flower until mid or even late April.  This year, our remaining apple tree is already  budding and looks as if it could burst into flower any moment.  Even if we get a new tree nearly immediately, the chance for the necessarily cross pollination (something that is a good idea even if one has “self-pollinating” varieties of apple) to happen is greatly reduced.

However, when we went out to buy a new tree, we found the garden centers nearest to our house (we checked three) hadn’t yet received their full deliveries of fruit trees.  What they did have were mostly earlier season plants.

Well, I have the arugula seeds.  I can plant those.  Then watch, it’ll snow next week…

Stay tuned!

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5 Responses to “Does Spring Seem Ahead of Schedule?”

  1. James M. Six Says:

    I’m no gardener or farmer but it’s interesting to read these types of blog posts. When the climate starts to misbehave (whether for one year or as an ongoing thing), outdoor planting becomes problematic. I wonder if there’s a market for portable plant houses (in various sizes for the backyard gardener) to keep plants cool when weather gets hot too early, warm when a late freeze comes, with wind-break capabilities for the arugula and such.

    One benefit I have to grudgingly give globalization and modern transportation is that if local crops fail, we can import crops and won’t starve. Of course, that’s because the USA can spend the money to buy them. Folks in other places aren’t so lucky and, sooner or later, the USA dollar will no longer be wanted and/or transportation costs will be too high to deliver food. But here’s hoping those “interesting times” are far in the future.

  2. Sally Says:

    What are you going to do with the wood from the dead apple tree, Jane? Good firewood, and I know you have a fireplace. As I recall it is also a nice wood for carving, though very hard when dry.

    I bought carrot seeds yesterday. I hope to put them in this weekend. They at least should survive any late hard frosts.

    • janelindskold Says:

      The wood was in very bad condition from years of problems. We’ve put it out for garden waste pick-up.

      Plan for this weekend in Apple Tree Quest. I did plant arugula and chard, but I need to get radishes, carrots, and more arugula.

  3. Katie Says:

    Here in the MidAtlantic this year we keep getting unseasonable warmth for a few days followed by unseasonable cold for a few more. The daffodils are fine but the star magnolias are shot. The fruit crop is going to be a fraction of the usual. I am very proud of myself for resisting the urge to plant back in February when it was in the 70s. A week ago we had snow and ice. That mostly melted, then it snowed again Sunday, warmed up Tuesday, and today it’s 40 and we have an excess of wind. Tomorrow is supposed to be the start of a genuine warming trend. We shall see. There are a couple of beds we’re expanding after putting in the new walk, and I’m really looking forward to planting.

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