Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Third Winter?


So, this morning.

Yes, I know. It's beyond mid-April. Isn't it supposed to be Spring?

At least it's not the second of May, which is when it snowed last in 2013. Like all spring snows here in Kansas it didn't last long, and neither will today's snow. These photos were taken late morning, after some melt had occurred. 

Snow started falling off the trees even before snow quit falling from the sky. I'm not sure it ever dropped below freezing here, so the melt was on quite early. That makes it difficult to tell just how much snow fell overnight. It was a heavy, wet snow, so it brought a fair amount of moisture.

We are in a freeze warning for tonight, still. While the forecast low for this morning was 31 degrees Fahrenheit, the low for tomorrow morning will be 28 degrees F., according to the National Weather Service. I hope that it does the same as this morning and does not fall that low. At least I hope it does not fall lower. I spent yesterday, all day yesterday, doing what I could to protect the baby plants in the ground -- 60 cabbage plants, 199 leek plants, rows of snap peas, garlic, and lettuce, radish, kale and collard seedlings. I put tubs and blankets over strawberries that had started blooming (the plants will survive freezing, but not the blossoms), lilies (some of which were almost two feet tall already, but most were shorter), tarragon, and twice-blooming iris that are beginning to blossom.

Redbud in full bloom, coated in snow.

I began the day in kind of a "we're doomed" mood, but as I got into the task, I felt better. By lunch time I had at least a third of it done. I was quite tired at the end of the day, but I didn't have to go out after dinner to finish up. Yay.

So much else is green, however, and I am holding my breath hoping, hoping, hoping that the weather is kind to us tonight. All the columbines and other irises, leaves on trees and shrubs, lilac buds, all of those I am hoping, hoping, hoping will survive tonight. 

If you want evidence of climate change and the impact it will have, this is it. Weather that is far more erratic than usual. Yes, Kansas has always experienced these kinds of anomalies because we sit where many weather fronts collide. But not every year an anomaly. I used to be able to depend on the seasons following a certain progression. I cannot entirely count on that anymore. Raising my own food has become more difficult because of it... and I am not alone. I feel for the market gardeners who depend on their crops for income. I feel angry at people who, in spite of the evidence before their eyes, continue to deny that climate change exists, and at the people who want to continue the status quo of reliance on fossil fuels when we have the technology to implement cleaner power. It's time our governments take this seriously.

Thank you.

Off my soapbox now.

Love to all.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Frosty Flowers

The dwarf Liberty apple tree at the edge of my garden, planted in 2009.

Sunday, April 11, was beautiful -- warm and sunny. This lovely little apple tree was in full bloom, with tiny bees visiting its flowers. But I stood near it, not paying attention, focused on cilantro seedlings in a bed nearby.

And then the little tree reached out and grabbed me by the nose, the fragrance of the blossoms released by the sun and warm temperature, enticing bees and me to Pay Attention. I stood by the little tree inhaling its rejuvenating fragrance, dreaming of juicy apples come fall. I did not know until then how fragrant apple blossoms are.

Fragrant apple blossoms. Take a whiff.....

Now, today I look at the forecast for next week -- rain mixed with snow. Tuesday morning's low 32 degrees F. Wednesday morning's low, 28 degrees F.

Time to pull out sheets and blankets to cover young vegetable plants -- lettuce and leeks, kale and collard seedlings, cabbages -- and snuggle the pea seedlings and asparagus shoots with hay.

But what about the apple, cherry and pear blossoms? I cannot do much there.

However, I have a list -- provided by K-State Research and Extension -- of tree fruits and the temperatures at which flowers and new fruits will be killed. According to this after petal fall blossoms-soon-to-be-fruit for each of these will be killed at a rate of 10 percent with a temperature of 28 degrees. The percentage of kill increases with each degree downward, until you get 90 percent kill at 25 degrees F. Pears are a tiny bit more hardy, being 90 percent killed at 24 degrees. 

I feel a little better having checked this, but am keeping my fingers crossed that we won't drop below 28 degrees. My heart goes out to all of the local fruit farmers.