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North Star Farms
P.O. Box 164
Carpio, N.D. 58725
(701) 720-2635

gardendwellers FARM

Another weather headline

 May 11, 2014

North Dakotans often talk about the weather and for good reason. We are often stuck in unusual weather pattterns that defy explanation, defy historical data and defy nature itself.

Thus far, 2014 has been like that since the beginning. A much colder than average winter, with little or no snow on the ground was something to behold in itself. At least four days went into the deep freeze at colder than 30 below; rare given the fact there was no snow.

Spring came and our mind's continue to be boggled. It's been a cold spring, in many cases colder than average and for those of us who rely on warmer conditions with the coming of spring, we've had to wait.

Even now, as I write this blog on May 11, the ground temperature remains too cold to plant most seeds. Normally, May 10 is our last mathematical frost date. Friday morning, on May 8, it was 24 degrees when I left home at 5 o'clock in the morning.

As many of you know, North Star Farms takes a lot of pride in its organic garlic. Unfortunately, the garlic hasn't yet emerged. I've had garlic out of the ground as early as March 19. Here it is May 11, almost two months later, and no garlic.

I took it upon myself to dig down into the ground and look for some of the bulbs I planted in October. I found them, and the garlic has sprouted, but because the soil temperature remains at 42 degrees, the garlic is struggling to get out of the ground.

This morning the air temperature is 42 degrees and we have a steady rain. Normally I would be going gangbusters to get seeds in the ground on May 11. Instead I'm thinking of cleaning the garage because it's first, too cold, and wet to plant anything.

Yesterday, however, was ideal for planting and for a reason I can't explain, planted all of my onions in an afternoon. Two years ago it took 26 hours to plant onions. Yesterday I did it in 6 1/2 hours. I think part of it is efficiency; we are getting better at what we are doing and second, the plants were bigger, thus much easier to plant. Some of the onions were into the four leaf stage and because I planted them in cells with as few as one of two seeds in cell, it allowed the plants to grow more robust.

Seed potatoes have arrived. They need to be cut up and ready for planting. That would be a good garage job today. There's so much work to do. It's just got to be done without getting drenched in the cold spring rain. 

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