Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Living in the Old Farmer's Almanac in May 2013

Happy Beltane!

Farmer's Calendar

Centuries ago, gardeners learned to time horticultural activities, such as planting, pest control, and harvesting, not by a set date on a calendar, but by signs that Nature provided. In fact, phenology, the study of the timing of animals and plant cycles in relation to climate and seasonal changes, is still used today.

The signaling events and their times may vary by location. Gardeners in certain regions might plant cool-season flowers when aspens and chokecherries leaf out; fertilize the lawn when forsythias and crocuses start to bloom; watch for Mexican bean beetles when foxgloves flowers open; sow seeds of beets, lettuce, and carrots when dandelions appear, or set out tomatoes and pepper plants, when lilies-of-the-valley blossom.

To use this technique, keep a journal. Note when plants bud, flower and fruit. Keep track of animal and insect life cycles and activities, such as the emergence of Japanese beetles. Jot down daily weather conditions (temperature, sunlight, precipitation, wind, etc.). Examine each plant's site: Record the exposure to the elements, soil conditions, and any possible stress factors.

Review your notes periodically. You'll begin to notice patterns that will help you to schedule tasks, and you'll become come as savvy as those gardeners of long ago.

SKY WATCH ☆ Saturn remains splendid throughout this month and is out all night long. Jupiter is now getting low in the evening twilight. Mercury hovers to the right of returning Venus, only 7 degrees above the western horizon 40 minutes after sunset on the 23rd. Venus closely meets Jupiter, a potentially spectacular even though both are near their minimum brightness, on the 27th and 28th. Mercury hovers just above them. However, the planetary trio sits just 6 degrees above the western horizon 40 minutes after sunset and thus requires an unobstructed skyline for viewing. They are easier to see from southern states.

Weather

Buttercups
and
daffodils
dot
the
lush,
sun-dappled
hills.
Cloudbursts
dampen
campin'--
more
chills
than
thrills.
Still
showering,
but
the
scent
of
lilacs
is
overpowering.
It's
hot.
Clear
the
hero's
cemetery
plot.

MAY 24-25: Penumbral eclipse of the Moon.
This eclipse will be fully visible from North America (except for Alaska) but not visible from Hawaii. The eclipse starts on May 24 at 11:43 P.M. EDT and ends on May 25 at 12:37 A.M. EDT.

Note that the penumbral magnitude of this eclipse is only 0.041! The Moon is just barely grazing the Earth's shadow, making this a rather weak "eclipse".

Rats!

1 comment:

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