Welcome, Growing Season!

Beltane                                                                                  Early Growth Moon

We have turned the corner on winter it seems and now will begin the gradual invasion of a more southerly clime, with heat and humidity climbing like kudzu broken free from the Confederacy.  We are two distinct climates in one here in Minnesota.  The one for which we are best known and with which most of us here identify is the polar influenced late fall, winter and early spring.  Cold, often severe, snow and a long fallow time typify this one.

The second, one for which we are not known at all, but which we know well, is the briefer Northern summer in which all signs of that polar influence wane then disappear, giving way to temperatures often reaching the 90’s and sometimes into the 100’s–this has happened more lately of course–and dewpoints moist enough to make being outside like wrapping yourself in one of those turkey cooking bags sold around Thanksgiving and sticking yourself in your oven.

This means, the good part, that we can grow crops that mature in under 120 days or so, leeks stretch that, but I’ve done it consistently.  This is long enough to get most garden vegetables including tomatoes, peppers and others that require frost free conditions when planting. (which shortens the season).

The bees, long adapted to cold climate, are fine with these temperature swings; it’s the multivalent attack of pesticides, mites, loss of habitat, mite borne viruses or viruses aided by the mite weakened bee and reliance on bees not bred for hygienic behavior (cleaning out diseased larvae before they can infest the colony).

Our cherry, plum and pear trees all blossomed in Monday’s record heat.  The apples have not, yet, and I’m glad because once their blossoms fall I have to get out the ladder and bag each fruit set.  And, this year I’m getting more aggressive with the damned squirrels, those tree bandits.

It’s time to get out there and dig several holes in the ground, mash it up, put it in a plastic baggy and send it off to the lab.

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