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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Don’t be Fooled

Last week many of us in the Northeast were wearing shorts, flips flops, and sunscreen. Fast-forward one week later, and many of us pulled out our winter coats and had to scrape frost of the windshields. Yes it’s spring, and as the Farmers’ Almanac forewarned us — the weather is going to be up and down.

The summer-like weather in early April encouraged some people to head out to the gardens and plant some vegetables and annuals. Now for those who live in the warmer areas of the country, you’re all set and probably have been growing and gardening for more than a month. But alas for those of us in the north — we shouldn’t be fooled — frosts can come as late as May 20th in areas of New Hampshire and May 18th in areas of Michigan.

Many areas have lore as to when it’s safe to plant. Here in NJ it’s usually Mother’s Day, however, we had a frost after Mother’s Day last year and I had to replant most of our vegetable garden. In Maine, it’s usually best to wait to Memorial Day or right after.

When do you usually plant?  Is there a lore associated with gardening in your state or town? Or do you follow frost guides?

Both the print edition of the Farmers’ Almanac and online we list average frost days for both spring and fall. Be sure to check them out next time the weather seems to be fooling you into thinking it’s later in the season than it really is.

If you’re dying to plant now — try some pansies. They are very hardy.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.