Locust Winter Ushers in Strong Storms

Wednesday, I was surprised to see that Black Locust trees had bloomed.  They were full of leaves and covered in white racemes. Three days prior (Sunday) they had barely begun to leaf out.

What a difference three days made.

Several mornings midweek saw temperatures hover around 43.  Locust Winter had arrived.  But, as these late Spring winters are, it was just a breath of fresh air before the temperature soared once again into the 80’s.

Thursday night storms rolled in and rain fell…a lot of rain.  Newly planted gardens #1 and #2 drank in the water and pink-eyed purple hull peas popped up out of the ground.

Today, I had planned to plant okra seeds, but after looking at next week’s forecast I’ve decided to hold off…several reasons…may wish I’d waited to plant both gardens….

Initially, I’d thought I might wait until late next week to plant okra – after the next round of severe weather (forecast to arrive tomorrow and linger into Tuesday).  From the forecasts I’d seen overnight temperatures next week wouldn’t be low enough to discourage the okra from sprouting. (Okra is notoriously slow to sprout, often taking 10 to 14 days. Soaking the seeds overnight in warm water will encourage them to sprout quickly and lessen the possibility of rotting.)

However, it now appears that we have a period of a few days next week when daytime and evening temperatures will be cool.  These few days will follow three days of heavy rain and violent storms…little chance of solar heating to warm the ground between cold downpours that will chill the ground. AND, if the forecast holds true, any seeds I plant may be washed away in the 3 inches of rain expected.

By Wednesday morning I may be waving goodbye to gardens #1 and #2 as they float away.

Mom and I discussed gardening and Spring’s winters. She said Locust Winter hasn’t come…that it will snap after the next front comes through.  I disagreed, saying it had already come and okra could safely go into the ground.

It looks like I was wrong.  I sure do hate admitting that to her. 😉

These Spring Winters are confusing but one thing is certain.  Whatever cold snap(s) we have while the Locust trees are blooming will be called Locust Winter by folks around these parts. And, these same folks will be looking ahead to the winter that announces warm weather is here to stay – Blackberry Winter.

(Of note: I hear the racemes of Black Locust are edible…. Not sure I would care to try them since the pods and seeds are toxic. However, the seed pods of Honey Locust, which blooms at about the same time as the Black Locust apparently can be eaten. Take care, though…the thorns on both are vicious!)

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