Saturday, April 30, 2016

Waiting for "blackberry winter"

The other day I was at the hardware store and an old boy I've known for years asked me, "When's it going to be blackberry winter? I want to plant my garden, but i ain't going to do it until after blackberry winter."

I told him I expected "blackberry winter" any day, but that its non-arrival had not stopped me from gardening.

"We've already harvested one crop and eaten fresh pickin's this spring," I said.

"What have you got out now?" he said.

"Oh, turnip greens, chard, kale and peas that we planted in the middle of February. Taters that we planted in the middle of March," I said.

"Oh, salad," he said, rather disparagingly. "I want to plant tomatoes."

"Well, you'll have to wait until after Mother's Day for that," I said.

"As soon as we get a blackberry winter, I'm planting," he said.

Blackberry winter, or blackberry squall as my Mama has called it for as long as I can remember, is a cold snap in spring after some nice weather. We had great weather last weekend for gardening and it was pretty nice at the first of the week. We then got some rain and by Friday it was cold enough that I needed to put on a sweater.

This morning, it was cold enough that when I got up to put the dogs out at 7 and start my weekend, it was cold, or felot cold. It was about 60 degrees outside, so wasn't real cold, Nevertheless, it was cold enough to kick the furnace on and keep it running awhile.

So is this blackberry winter? I don't know. I doubt it. There wasn't a frost, and I think it likely there will be one more of those before Mother's Day. I hope I'm wrong. I hope this is Blackberry Winter weekend, and the rest of the season will be warm and sunny for my garden, because I'm putting out tomato plants next Saturday.

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