Waiting

The ground is soggy and soaked from the melted snow. Today the forecast is for rain (with a high of 72). Tomorrow the forecast is for snow (with a low of 16). As I said yesterday, March is unpredictable.

English peas are one of the first crops we plant every year.  They don’t mind the cold weather and can be sowed as soon as the soil can be worked.  I’ve seen recommendations to plant them in February.  But “as soon as the soil can be worked” can be vary widely from year to year.  There’s just no way to know when that glorious day will arrive.

I checked our records for the last eight years.  Each of those years we planted peas on the first day it was possible to do so.  Notice how much variation there is.

2007  March 4
2008  March 2
2009  April 10
2010  March 21
2011  March 23
2012  March 12
2013  April 23
2014  March 28

I don’t know when nature will permit us to start planting this year.  I do know it won’t be as early as we planted in 2007 and 2008. Hopefully it will be sooner than 2013’s April 23.

We just play the hand we’re dealt.  It’s all good.

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27 comments on “Waiting

  1. smfarm says:

    Hoping to get our peas planted next week after this brutal cold snap we’re about to get. Usually we’re planting them right about now.

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    • Bill says:

      It’s heading this way I think. Sigh.

      It’s going to take a while for our ground to dry out, especially if the temps stay low. Who knows when we’ll be able to start this year.

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  2. Laurie Graves says:

    Good luck with the peas! In Maine, our goal is to be eating them by the Fourth of July.

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    • Bill says:

      Here we’ve normally already plowed them up by then and put in our black-eyed peas. It only takes about 50 days for the variety we plant to reach maturity. If we plant in March, we’re eating fresh peas in May.

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  3. Bill, serious planting here in Nebraska doesn’t usually start until April or early May. Our last frost date here is May 15th but as with last year it can happen a couple weeks later which pushed the replanting time into June. Yesterday’s post and my comment got me to thinking about watching nature more closely and correlating it with gardening. I mentioned that the tulips were up. Does it mean that Spring weather is very close? Will watching the native plants more give an indication about when to plant and when to wait? I don’t know but it seems to me that nature just might know best about when to start sprouting and when to wait. After all nature has been around a long time and probably has some plant wisdom, don’t you think? It will be an interesting research project for this gardening year. And well …. big sigh …. I’ll have to keep better records. Record keeping is not my strongest skill. :-0

    Have a great day watching the snow melt.

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    • Bill says:

      There are folks around here (old-timers mostly) who plant by signs rather than by dates or soil temperatures. They read the signs of nature and plant accordingly. So, for example, they know that certain things are planted when the dogwoods bloom, or when the oak leaves are as wide as your hand etc. I wish I’d written some of those things down as that kind of wisdom is being lost.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope you can get your peas planted soon. The weather is strange this year for sure, but as you said it’s all good. 🙂

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  5. avwalters says:

    Cold hearty peas can go in earlier, but our “safe” frost free date isn’t until early May.

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  6. bobraxton says:

    Concluding that planting is more favorable when the “economy” is taking a steep dive.

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    • Bill says:

      A coincidence I’d say, but reminds me of this from Wendell Berry:

      When I hear the stock market has fallen,
      I say, “Long live gravity! Long live
      stupidity, error, and greed in the palaces
      of fantasy capitalism!” I think
      an economy should be based on thrift,
      on taking care of things, not on theft,
      usury, seduction, waste, and ruin.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue says:

    Our last frost date is June 4—though last year I lost a lot on June 13. I do have cold frames going in April, however and that keeps my spirits up until the cold gives up.

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    • Bill says:

      That’s a long time to wait to be frost-free. Our average last frost date is April 15. To be safe (and to get soil temps up) I don’t start planting warm weather crops till the first week of May.

      Like

  8. shoreacres says:

    I just noticed this week that our white clover is looking pretty healthy. It’s usually one of the first things to appear along the roadsides, etc. It was 81 here today, and I kicked off my shoes at work. (Isn’t that wonderful!?) But now, The Front is just to the NW, and tomorrow we’re going to lose 40 degrees and gain 40 knots of wind. Still, I’ve started using the last of my blackberries from the freezer, because the day is coming where it will be time to enjoy the fresh.

    The good news is that none of my fruit-tree friends have anything but buds yet. Even if they get a freeze, there’s no danger of crop loss. I need my summer peaches!

    On another topic entirely, have you ever heard of “Gammel’s Laws of Texas”? The set — and Gammel himself — have ended up in my next post. There are strange, strange connections in tne world. I’m anxious to get the thing done and posted, just because the story’s so amazing.

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    • Bill says:

      It’s funny. Just as the folks far north of us envy our long growing seasons, I find myself envying yours. It’ll be a while longer before our clover appears. And we don’t need to rush to finish off our frozen blackberries yet either. Though I am happy to say we’ve made using up the frozen asparagus a priority, as this years spears should start appearing in a few weeks. (I’m smiling as I type that).

      Crazy weather here too. It was gorgeous and warm yesterday. It’s snowing and frigid today.

      I had not heard of Mr. Gammel or his Laws, but having now googled both, I’m looking forward to your post. As I’ve mentioned before, your posts are like articles in a good magazine. I almost always learn from them. Your blog is one of the internet’s bright spots.

      I seriously considered taking a job in Dallas when I was in law school. Texas was booming in those days and it seemed to good place for me to start earning the money to pay off my student loans. Eventually I chose to go to Tampa instead. One of those choices that changes the course of one’s life. Had I gone to Dallas instead, I’d probably have known about Gammel’s Laws.

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  9. Joanna says:

    I had half hoped to put something in the ground this week where it is easy to get to and walk on, but no we have had 10cms of snow overnight on top of the wood soot I put on the ground to encourage the snow to go yesterday 😦 I’m not sure when our last frost date is here in Latvia, but we usually reckon the end of May. Last year May was glorious but June!!!!!!!! They had snow about two hours north of us, only a dusting but still….

    I do have some peas planted in the greenhouse though, they did so well last year and so thought I would try again this year. Hope your weather warms up soon for you

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I have greenhouse envy. That’s been on our wishlist for a while.

      It rained all day here and is snowing now. It’s going to be a while before we plant our peas this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joanna says:

        One of our neighbours made a greenhouse out of round logs from the forest and used the chainsaw to cut and shape the pieces. The greenhouse still stands, which is quite surprising as I think he had had quite a bit of lubrication to aid him in the process

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I usually can’t put peas in the ground this early – not because of temperature but because our soils are usually so wet the peas turn to mush before they germinate. I think this might be the first year I can plant peas early – it’s been pretty dry around here in the PNW.
    Good luck getting your peas in soon!

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    • Bill says:

      Same here. It’s the wet weather that delays us, not the temperature. As long as the ground is thawed I can plant them, but I can’t work the soil until it’s dry. The way things are going, that may be a while.

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  11. shoreacres says:

    Speaking of the law, you MUST have a look at this, from Twitter, re: SCOTUS healthcare arguments. I’ve been sitting here laughing so hard tears are running down my cheeks.

    Like

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