The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Spring running two to four weeks early

Pear bud break

Silver willow budsMom's local paper reports that the leaves in Bristol, Tennessee, are a full month ahead of schedule. The only leaves we have here are tiny fresh growth on multiflora rose, autumn olive, and Japanese honeysuckle. But I can gauge spring's advance based on the pear buds (breaking open for about a week now) and the gooseberry leaves (which have been pushing gently out of buds for a little longer than that).

Based on those two metrics, I figure the beginning of March 2017 is roughly contemporaneous with:

So we're not a full month ahead of schedule (unless you measure us by 2015), but our plants are precocious by at least two weeks. I guess the question becomes --- do we push our planting calendar up an equal amount or figure there will be sudden cold spells up to our usual frost-free date and hold the usual line?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I am starting everything early - just in case it's nice the whole time. If there is a cold snap, new plants could be covered for a bit and older plants might be fine anyway. Seeds are cheap! I can plant more later if none of these make it! I suspect a great many will make it though, with consistent surveillance :) I am located just outside of Knoxville, I would say we are also a month ahead or even a tad bit more, but it is chilly today. A few days ago it was 70 degrees. Whew!
Comment by Roz Fri Mar 3 08:15:35 2017

I was just commenting to a neighbor that I felt here in NE TN we were about two weeks ahead of schedule for Spring's arrival. Bristol, VA/TN might be ahead because of all the concrete absorbing the solar heat and then radiating it back out. That's true of all cities.

Where I am, I think in my microclimate I'm about two weeks ahead of schedule this year. I notice that you're in, what I will "euphamistically" call a "holler" (smile) and that microclimate might be why you're dates of Spring's arrival is so erratic.

As far as Spring's arrival coming earlier and earlier each year, apparently the US Geological Survey has a map showing how early Spring's arrival is this year.

It also noted in the article that "As the USGS points out, scientists have known for some time that “climate change is variably advancing the onset of spring across the United States.” It’s one of the (many, many) indicators of a warming planet. “These findings are consistent with the fact that the instrumental record shows that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded for the globe, and that it was the third record-breaking year in a row,” USGS notes."

Comment by Nayan Fri Mar 3 09:29:13 2017
We're significantly north of you, but we were looking at an early spring too, we have had temps into the 60s for the last couple of weeks...yesterday it was 55 and dropping, today it never got above freezing, and tonight its supposed to snow. NOAA is saying that it will stay barely above 0 until late next week. I'm very glad I didn't set anything out yet.
Comment by Nichole Fri Mar 3 15:52:21 2017

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