Tilling Time in the Upper Peninsula

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By Sharon M. Kennedy

 It’s that time again here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Time to think about tilling up the vegetable garden plot. Now that the danger of frost is almost over, it’s almost time to plant. I say “almost” because everyone living in the Eastern U.P. knows we’ll get at least one more hard frost that will kill off our crop of seedlings. Then it’s back to the store for another batch of seeds.

It happens every year. Early in May, we get a few warm days and everyone rushes to the garden shop. We select seed packets of vegetables and annuals for the flower garden. We rush home and finish tilling the soil. Then we start planting. At the end of the day, we congratulate ourselves on a job well done and admire our work as we sip cocktails on our terrace. We retire for the night and have sweet dreams of a bountiful harvest and beautiful petunias.

But at some point during our dreaming, Jack Frost makes an unannounced visit. He arrives around 4:00 a.m. and delivers a fatal blow. We awaken to a layer of white stuff. As usual, our plans for an early harvest are thwarted. Disgusted, we wish we had listened to the oldsters because they’re always right: Never plant anything until the full moon makes its appearance in July. By then all danger of frost has passed, at least until Jack comes calling again around the 15th of August.

 Sharon tilling the garden plot

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