First signs of spring

By Clif Knight

A lot can be written about the first signs of spring when it comes to predicting when spring weather will arrive in North Alabama.

Of course, winter is still here and only the warm sunshiny days of April and May can change that. However, the longest day of darkness has come and gone. It’s possible to read a newspaper outside at 5 p.m. Soon, with the addition of Daylight Savings Time, we’ll be able to extend our outdoor workday two more hours.

Plants that have a high tolerance for cold weather are also making their presence known. The yellow bells in our flowerbeds are six inches high and soon will be in bloom. Forsythia is full of yellow blooms and our backyard Bradford pear tree is beginning to bud and will be in full bloom within a month.

Weather permitting, it’s also time to do some early plowing in the garden and planting greens, onions, cabbage, potatoes and other early maturing vegetables.

The customary time to plant early-maturing corn on our farm was late March while cotton planting followed by two to three weeks. I don’t remember ever having to replant an entire crop of either but there were times when cold temperatures in and made chopping and hoeing difficult for farm hands. Protecting early crops such as tomatoes, watermelons and cantaloupes was an unwelcome chore on our farm.

My father was a stickler when it came to getting a head start on other peddlers with tomatoes and watermelons. He sold them three to four weeks ahead of anybody else. They brought 25 cents per pound when the demand was at its peak. When the price dropped to 10 cents per pound, he fed them to our hogs.

As a newcomer vegetable and fruit grower, I decided to try my hand as an early bird grower of strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes three years ago. The strawberries pretty much took care of themselves during the winter months. That changed, however, when they started blooming in early March. This called for them to be covered in pine straw anytime the temperature dropped in the low 30s. I stopped counting when the number of coverings reached five.

The protection of tender tomato plants was equally frustrating. I decided the best approach to early maturing tomatoes was to use an early maturing variety and hold off planting until early May when the danger of a killing frost is over.

 

Eva

Community class reunion celebrates Morgan schools

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hats off: Class of 2024 graduates from Hartselle High School

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

City adjusts garbage routes for Memorial Day

Falkville

Larry Madison has been a pillar in Falkville for four decades

Hartselle

Hartselle trio nominated for two K-LOVE awards

Hartselle

Hartselle students chosen to attend Girls State

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle Kiwanis Club continues scholarly legacy with annual golf tournament

Editor's picks

Heartbreaking finish: Hartselle comes up a run short in state baseball finals

Decatur

Fallen Morgan County officers remembered, families honored  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle drops Game 1 to Hillcrest, needs two wins for state title

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Despite title loss, Hartselle thankful for state experience 

Editor's picks

Hartselle baseball legend dies

Breaking News

Hartselle baseball legend William Booth dies at 79

At a Glance

ALDOT patching area of Thompson Road tomorrow, Thursday

At a Glance

Spring-time market day in Hartselle scheduled for May 18 

Hartselle

New Crestline Elementary School welcomes students

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle industry closing, affecting more than 150 jobs  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Habitat for Humanity applications for homeownership available June 3 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

State seeking death penalty for Fort Payne woman accused of pushing victim off cliff

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Pilot of ultralight dies in Hartselle plane crash

Editor's picks

Northern lights visible from north Alabama

Hartselle

Hartselle students to attend Boys State

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

High scorers: 42 Hartselle students a part of ACT 30 plus club

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Hartselle projects budget surplus based on midyear numbers 

x