Never Plant before the Snow is off Mt. Spokane... This is the planting credo I have heard numerous times by farmers and gardeners in the Cheney area. Cheney, like Spokane, is considered a zone 6 but at 2,000+ plus feet Cheney tends to stay cooler longer, especially in the evenings. The standard Spokane mantra 'never plant before Mothers Day' does not apply here, and heaven forbid even thinking of planting before nightly frosts end. But this season has been different and that has caused me some internal confusion, most recently when do I plant and do I abide by local lore? For heaven sake it has been two weeks since Mothers Day.
To address this issue I look first to my skis that have been sitting next to my door for a solid six months; they look tired, the top sheet is scratched and the edges thou not rusted are dull and worn. These subtle indications say to me that this has not been a normal year; temperatures are not following the trusty Farmers Almanac, we are at flood stage on many rivers, the snow pack is massive, in fact my local hill got 12 inches on top 4 days ago and I skied last weekend, May 28th, my personal best, which begs the question...Do I abandon these rural legends of planting lore based on the snow cover of a distant mountain? My answer is YES!
The seeds that I have been grooming into plants since March 27th want to go into the ground, they are tired of the 6am spray from the garden hose and the tight quarters in the green house. The eggplant no longer wants to be cozy with the peppers and the green onions hate broccoli. So when I arrived home on Memorial Day, in a rush no less, the plants got their wish, real soil. No sooner than I got them in the ground and wiped the sweat from my brow did I hear from a neighbor that he had been advised by the local vegetable shaman that the soil was too cold down low and not to plant. Well here I am with 80 starts in the ground and a mean case of self-doubt and waking up this morning to temperatures in the low forties, seeing my breath as I walk the grounds was not a treat, actually I thought to myself, 'damn it Nick; they have rural legends for a reason'.
Now all I can do it wait, worry, watch and learn.
Next year I will do a few things differently on Memorial Day and I hope that skiing is not one of them.