arrowHome arrow Marv's Blog arrow In like a lamb; out like a lamb Sunday, April 05, 2020  
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North Star Farms
P.O. Box 164
Carpio, N.D. 58725
(701) 720-2635

gardendwellers FARM

In like a lamb; out like a lamb

Isn't it amazing how mild this past winter has been and now how mild March has been? Really, we've been in a mild patter for some time now and if this continues, it appears we will be able to start seeding early this year. As soon as the soil temperature hits 40 degrees, we'll start putting shell peas in the soil.

Mowing lawn in November, tilling garden ground in December, not using supplemental greenhouse heat in February and none in March, has just been phenomenal. Not only are we enjoying weather that Kansas normally enjoys this time of year, but it also gives us a jump on greenhouse starts. Into the middle of March, we are weeks ahead of where we were last year at this time. 

There is however, a downside to this, or at least that's what old timers are saying. Because March is normally a "wet" month, we haven't had a lick of moisture the first 13 days of the month. That could spell trouble and bring drought conditions through the summer. We've had an open winter, some rain in January, we set numerous high temperature records in December. No flooding on the Des Lacs River because there hasn't been any snow melt.

We've been told that southern Saskatchewan has ample winter moisture, which means water will continue to be released from the three border dams and the Des Lacs River should have plenty of water in it all summer regardless if we have drought conditions or not. That means if we need to irrigate, we will have enough river water to make that happen and not miss a beat for our CSA shareholders and farmers' market customers.

We always put a disclaimer on our CSA membership form that nature is in charge, and it is. This time around, we happen to be enjoying it right now. We've had the other extreme; March 1966 with a five-day blizzard that paralyzed North Dakota or February 1936 in which all 29 nights were below zero, at least nine in the 30-below range and two in the 40-below range. Thus, we best enjoy this and not complain.

The other two things a mild March does is provide us extra time to prep fields. In 2015 there were a lot of items that didn't get seeded until the first week of June, which is uncharacteristic. It also allows the garlic to emerge early. In 2015, our garlic crop didn't emerge until the third week in May. A field check on March 12 didn't show anything, but the good news is the soil is warming quickly with these 60 and 70-degree days. 

March came in like a lamb this year and the old saying, at least in North Dakota is, in like a lamb, out like a lion. But looking ahead at the forecast, it appears that March is going to leave like a lamb as well. Maybe Mother Nature will give us an April Fool's joke and bring April in like a lion instead!

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