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Patience Is a Strong Virtue in the Finger Lakes

A good friend of mine Mike Lada who lives in Canandaigua remarked that our recent snow last Monday killed about half of his tender plants which he had just bought. I told him to go by his lilacs as they are fairly accurate predictors of when you can safely plant tender plants. It was something that I read in the Old Farmer’s Almanac (click here) a long time ago. The article said to wait till the flowers on the lilac bush are half out before attempting to plant any tender plants. But Mike said that his lilacs were already out so I had to check mine.

Sorry about that Mike. The science of predicting the last frost is not an exact science! The lilac bush tries to gauge when to start blooming so that it will maximize the life of its blossoms, but even lilacs can get fooled by the unusual weather that we are having this spring.

I took a drive out into the country to see how the other flowering bushes are faring and to check the status of the leaves on the trees. As I looked across Canandiagua Lake, one can still see snow on the eastern side of the Bristol hills. Some of my friends who live in the Bristol hills expect late snows and frosts so they don’t get too excited about planting a garden in April.

The lake was calm when I arrived at Vine Valley. It was very cool, but the there was already some activity going on at the general store as the workman were busy installing a new roof. There were two flowering crabs which weren’t in full bloom yet but were just starting to blossom at the ends of their branches.

As I drove up the hill out of the valley, I spotted some early work by one of the local farmers who had already plowed his fields in anticipation of planting some corn. According to my father, the soil has to feel warm to the touch before you can plant corn. With the arrival of May next week, patience is indeed a strong virtue in the Finger Lakes!

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