The cruelest month

No, don't look at that snow. Instead, focus on the blue sky peeking through.

February is the cruelest month for Oklahoma gardeners. Some would say August when temperatures often are above 100F, but I don’t think so. We still have the beautiful months of September and October to look forward to. In February, we have days on end of gray skies. The Oklahoma winter landscape in its stark raiment of brown and gray is beautiful, but only when topped with blue.

Today, my friends, blue skies are smiling at us, and although my weather station says we’re in negative numbers -10F–that can’t be right can it? I’ve never seen it that cold. I see that we are supposed to top out at 33F. That means melting snow!!!

'Carefree Delight' against a blue sky last November. I don't know about you, but I'm sick of snow pictures.

For those of you who don’t live in Oklahoma, we were hit with two major snowstorms in a two week period. Oklahoma City didn’t get as much snow this time, but Guthrie received at least six to eight inches. Add that to the twelve inches from the week before . . . oh, and the snow shower of two inches in between, and we’ve got quite a bit of melting and digging out to do. This story on the Guthrie Police is definitely worth watching. Just look at how cold everyone is, and yet, they are helping others. I love my little town.

However, next week, temperatures are supposed to be in the 60s. Welcome to Oklahoma’s wild weather, crazy train. If so, I’ll be out dancing in the gravel garden paths for sure and looking signs of Galanthus nivalis (snowdrops). Last year, I saw them at the beginning of March.

Last year's Galanthus, probably nivalis, but don't quote me; i.e., snowdrops seen on March 2nd.

In the meantime, I’m holding on to this thought by Barbara Winkler, from the Secret Garden Calendar 2011 hanging next to my desk:  “Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle . . . a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.”

Yep, that’s what I’m holding onto. I just hope with the extremely cold nighttime weather, there are buds still straining, and they haven’t been frozen off. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but this is a family blog.

Tulips from April 2009

Hang in there folks. Spring will one day come. Only a couple more months, and we’ll see tulips, daffodils, crocus and all the minor bulbs which are right now growing beneath the snow. In the meantime, buy your seeds for the spring garden and get ready to sow both indoors and out. We can plant our peas, lettuce, spinach and chard at the end of February. In early March, we’ll sow our tomatoes, eggplant and peppers indoors.

Bear holding radishes in April 2009

If you don’t want to grow your own veggies or can’t, Phocus Farms is becoming part of Community Supported Agriculture this summer. Buy in now $600.00, and you’ll have already paid for twenty weeks of fresh produce worth $30 each week in June and July. Succulent homegrown tomatoes, squash, eggplant, crisp green beans and even herbs delivered to your home or office. It’s a great deal and will help Steve Hill of my church do what he’s always wanted to do, farm. In case you’re wondering about the name, it’s for St. Phocus, who is the patron saint of farm workers, ornamental gardening, home gardens and men who like to garden. If you are local and want the information, let me know, and I’ll give you his phone number. Remember, investment and dreams start now. Live in the Tulsa area? Buy Fresh, Buy Local can steer you to a CSA in your part of our red dirt state.

If you are planning to sow seeds indoors, I give a nifty tip over on the LCI Team blog where you can reuse and recycle while planning for future harvests. Please stop by and leave a comment if you’d like. I’d love to hear what you’ll be sowing and growing.

I can’t wait for spring to get here, can you?


  1. Meredith says:

    It’s just barely starting to look like spring here, Dee, but I’d agree February is the cruelest month. Feels sometimes like my soul is straining forward just ahead of my body, desperate to reach the next season. I love your attitude and your post, though. Your writing is a pleasure to read!

  2. It’s starting to look a little like spring here–and just in time for the weekend!

  3. Rose says:

    I’ve been seeing on the news all the bad storms that you have had in Oklahoma; it really has gotten hit hard this winter. I’m glad you still have a positive attitude, Dee; I agree that T.S. Eliot was wrong–February is definitely the cruelest month. We’re supposed to get up into the 40’s here in Illinois next week–I don’t think I’ll have any bulbs sprouting, but I’m going to celebrate anyway!

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You bet I can’t wait. I am so sick of winter this year. UGH!!!! I am looking for that shred of a miracle to hold onto.

  5. Ann says:

    We hardly get snow in Portland so I love to look at others posts and their images. I don’t envy having my garden under that stuff though since so many plants here couldn’t take that kind of abuse.

  6. January is our cruelist and ugliest month. February is gray although we do see the daffs about to bloom….C’mon March!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Yes, Darla, come on March indeed!

  7. Diana says:

    Love that quote about miracles in the garden. It’s cold here, too. 17F last night – record breaking lows here this week — but like you, I’m holding on. It won’t be long now. Really. No, really! But I do think I need some grocery store forced bulbs in a foil pot! Just to bridge the next 4 weeks!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Wow Diana! That’s cold for y’all. I can’t imagine. I hope you make it through the next few weeks. We’ve got a bit longer than you. Stay warm.

  8. Jennie Brooks says:

    when you say “We can plant our peas, lettuce, spinach and chard at the end of February.” is that indoors? i’m going to try planting spinach for the first time…. if i can keep Liza out of the garden!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      No, Jennie, that’s outdoors. We direct sow lettuce and spinach. You have to get it in early before everything warms up. Spinach especially as it will bolt in our warm springs.

      Put up a fence to keep Liza out. 🙂 I’m going to do the same for Tap. Of course, it will need to be a super high fence with steel reinforcement.

  9. Yep, it’s the cruelest in NC too, but it’s the closest winter month to March which holds the first breath of spring….with longer days to shine light into our hungry eyes.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Helen, I’ll keep holding on to that thought.

  10. Wait a minute. You can plant peas at the end of February, but you don’t see your first snowdrop until March? We can’t plant peas until a couple of weeks after we see the first snowdrop. But I guess you don’t have to wait for your soil to thaw out like we do.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Kathy, nope, our soil is normally thawed all winter. Back when I was a newbie gardener, I would read those national books which said to plant when the soil had thawed, and I would scratch my head in confusion. With soil that is always thawed, we have to get those peas in fast before everything warms up, and the peas are fried.

  11. gail says:

    February is the cruelest month in my Middle South garden, too. We haven’t had the amounts you all have gotten, but with two more inches last night and temps in the teens…I say enough, already! Please keep showing beautiful spring photos to keep our spirits soaring. gail

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Gail, it’s been a long winter. Not much more to say.

  12. Cyndy says:

    Crazy town weather rules the country I think, Dee! Love CSA – great idea that works for the farmers and the lucky veggie eaters.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Cyndy, I thought someone might get the crazy train joke. 🙂 I love CSAs too.

  13. Layanee says:

    I agree that February is the cruelest month here in New England also. We have warmed to 25F here today with no melt. I did dream that all the snow was gone although it was quite a rude awakening when I finally opened my eyes to see the endless white of the landscape. But, it won’t be long. I keep saying that.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Layanee, maybe it is the cruelest month everywhere in North America. All that promise of spring, but no delivery yet.

  14. Hang in there! You have really been buried. Just think of the wonderful moisture your bulbs and plants are getting when the snow melts.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Yes, thanks goodness for the snow. Otherwise, those negative temps would be a super duper disaster.

  15. Linda Vater says:

    I’m sick of the snow too, Dee, but I still hate the 100 degree days a lot more! Thanks for the reminder on the eggshell/seed starting tip!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      It won’t take too long now. I keep repeating that to myself.

  16. Leslie says:

    I’m so sorry you are buried under snow but you certainly have a good attitude about it. The photos are beautiful hints of what will be here soon.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Leslie, I’m pretty sure my attitude is a bad one. I have terrible cabin fever, but as soon as the temperatures rise this afternoon, I am going outside.

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