Trusting in the Month of May

We always wonder, in these parts, if May is to be trusted. Certainly it’s a pretty passive month; the weather mellows to 60s and 70s, lilacs bloom, and pocket gophers mound fresh soil in the fields. The urge in May, to dig dirt and plant seeds is strong in gardening folk.
This is the time of year my dad said we needed to “make garden.” The term must be a throwback to the German word ‘machen’ which indicates some action. Anyway making garden does describe what gardeners do. It’s all pretty action- oriented as we till, stoop to place seeds, and work our various tools to coax new life from the soil.
Here in the North we are still a bit tentative about planting in May. Certainly, I put my potatoes in the ground the other day and also onions, radishes, lettuces, and all the cool season things. But we always hesitate with those tender tomatoes and peppers. Perhaps, just one more frost around the corner? A man once suggested to me that the best day to plant our tomatoes, is the day after the last frost. Hmmm, figure that one out.
How do we learn to trust May? Especially this May which spat snow at us just six days ago and just within five days blew the ice off our local lakes. I think it’s all about the averages. While we never seem to have an average year, somehow all the phenomena of nature seem to average out and each year comes out pretty close. Since rain is predicted, maybe I’ll just slide a few tomato plants out tomorrow. Certainly we can trust that we will get some warm days that will average out the snowy beginning to May.

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