B-rrring! It’s Spring

Share this post

By Heidi Lewis

The cuckoo clock at the Greenwich Mean Time offices popped its head out at 11:02 a.m. on March 20, letting all us inside people know that it’s officially spring. For the outside world, the tightly wound mechanisms of nature's internal clock are springing plants into action. Petals and birdsong may fill the air, but spring is a delicate interval when seedlings and fruit tree blossoms establish themselves for the fruitful seasons ahead.

A warm winter can trick the blossoms into emerging early. A late spring storm can knock the tender blossoms to the ground or trample tender seedlings. This is why spring is the trickiest season for farmers. Their ability to balance instinct, experience, and weather predictions will help them determine when to take seedlings from the greenhouse after the danger of frost.

Fruit trees’ success depends on winter. They require a certain number of chill hours to garner enough rest-time to produce fruit. Their genetic alarm clocks vary from species to species. Apricots may require 500–700 hours below 45 °F, pluots only around 400, and some apple varieties as much as 1,400 (that’s 58 days). The vast matrix of thousands of fruit varieties projected against the myriad climates and microclimates in our country ensures us a bounty of fruit over most of the year.

The planet has rung the bell for the half-time show—the vernal equinox and the broadening of the days. Yet the time differs for each region’s ticker-tape parade of petals floating in the air and chorus of birds ushering the heroes onto the field. Plants have their own clocks—quiescence tells them when to start fruiting—and if you put your ear to a tree, you just might hear it ticking.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

 

Recent Food articles:

How to find your favorite variety of one of fall’s best fruits
September 25, 2016
September 9, 2016
Easy lunch-box meals for kids and grown-ups
August 24, 2016
Seasonal fruits complement tasty tapas
August 23, 2016
August 11, 2016
Smooth, sweet nectarines
July 24, 2016
Easy work lunch recipes to keep you cool on hot days
July 18, 2016
Fun-loving fruit with antioxidants to boot
June 20, 2016
How (and why) to grill every fruit, every day
June 15, 2016
A tale of two cherries
June 7, 2016

More recent articles:

Keep your workouts outdoors this winter
September 28, 2016
Exploring the meaning of work in America
September 28, 2016
Office etiquette for the election season
September 21, 2016
Will the king of the road finally lose its throne?
August 24, 2016
Profiles of the men and women of the fruit world
August 24, 2016
Tips for taking a break from politics
August 24, 2016
Family and sustainability are core values at Frecon Farms
July 27, 2016

About Us

Our monthly online magazine features articles about fitness, health, food, and work, as well as recipes featuring farm-fresh fruit!