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Has Spring Sprung? Organic Gardening and Climate Change

At higher elevations, specifically on the top of the Rocky Mountains, are these island habitats that are defined by geographic barriers. The tops of these peaks are special and changing. Where other plants are simply moving upwards in elevation the plants on these biological islands have nowhere else to go but extinct.

Planting now may mean early harvests for summer crops.
Planting now may mean early harvests for summer crops.
David Stillwell
Nursery seedlings or direct sow?
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Birders have noticed it too. The expansion of Fall and the pre-Spring has shorted winter. What they have noticed specifically is that the birds are staying longer and returning earlier. The signs of change are all around us, but what do they mean for our own organic gardens.

Yesterday was watering day for my own garden. Having planted seeds three weeks ago, it was time to care for the seedlings. There in the dirt were long rows of vegetables that were planted just a short while back. A long row of carrots all busting through the moist earth. Beside them were three rows of beets. The large square of mixed lettuce was green and growing. Even the flower seeds that had been planted were up and stretching skywards towards the warm sun. What was more amazing were the five volunteer squash plants that had also pushed off their seed coats and were flourishing.

March 21 is the usually last frost day for organic gardens in the Sacramento area, but if Winter has been set back by several weeks, then now may be the new frost free marker. With much encouragement from other signs, and the presence of those squash plants growing now may be a great time to try more seeds. There is always a danger that frost may come by and kill everything, but it seems worth the risk. Especially if the summer is going to be as hot as it is feared to become. At the worst, organic gardens will become littered with cloche like gallon sized milk cartons, which can be used to protect small plants from freezing nights. Nothing ventured nothing gained, that is my new motto for organic gardens.

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