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Ozark RFD:


What a triple whammy.

Daylight saving time began Sunday night, less than a week before my traditional potato planting date, St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Add to that the first day of spring Monday, March 20, and it’s gonna be hard to stay out of the garden.

About the only things likely to keep me in the house are pouring rain, mud and ice or snow. Lacking any of those, common sense ought to do the trick, but it seldom does.

From where I sit writing these lines in early February, I don’t have a clue what the weather might be when we set our clocks forward and gain more daylight to garden by.

I do know from experience, though, that St. Patrick’s Day is almost always too early for potatoes, despite tradition, and even cooler season vegetables like onions and broccoli don’t like mud, no matter the temperature.

I know that and more from years of gambling with Mother Nature. I just can’t resist getting some money in the game even before the cards are dealt, though I’m sure the deck is marked.

You recall the old TV commercial, don’t you, with the ol’ gal shouting “You can’t fool Mother Nature,” with a clap of thunder and flash of lightning.

Nope, you can’t beat Mother Nature; but, ain’t it fun to try — like when I put potatoes in raised beds and under straw when it’a really too wet and cold to plant. It sometimes works with potatoes, but not so much with corn even later in the year.

Soggy corn kernels don’t just fail to germinate. They just seem to melt in to the mud and disappear. I’ve failed to learn that hard lesson several times over. I think that’s the definition of stupid. I’ll try to be smarter this year. Seeds are too costly to waste.

Now, I’ve made a few preparations well in advance of spring. I have a raised bed ready for tomatoes, but I’ll not need it for quite a spell. Though we may get some warm weather in April, we’ve no guarantee it won’t frost or even freeze well into May. After last year’s roller coaster of rain and drought, I’m throwing away the old charts. Anything can happen anytime Mother Nature waves her wand.

The only thing I can be certain of is the first week after daylight saving time is too early to plant much of anything.

But I can’t be certain from this February vantage that I won’t try, even if I know better.

Some seasons Mother Nature is more forgiving than in others.

Whatever her mood, I’ll enjoy the planting season. You know the wisdom of old Ozarkers: If today’s weather doesn’t suit you, give it a day. It’ll change — sometimes for the better.

Copyright 2023, James E. Hamilton; email jhamilton000@centurytel.net. Read more of his works in Ozarks RFD 2010-2015, available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or from the author.


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