Groundhog Day

Even though the official Punxsutawney Phil prediction is for six more weeks of winter, with the thick fog covering Minnesota this morning, I think it’s safe to say that there are no shadows to be seen around here today!   Though, if you have spent any time outside in Minnesota in the past few days, you would probably just think that spring is already here.  The other day I drove home with the sunroof cracked open, just because I could (without compromising the feeling in my fingers and toes).  And in January, of all crazy things. 

Life has kept me away from the blog for the past couple of weeks, so to say that I have spring fever might not even do justice to how I feel about making it over the January hump.  Not that we really have anything to complain about with as mild as this winter has been (I think I’ve shoveled only twice, maybe?), but even still, longer, warmer, and brighter days are never a bad thing.  Bring on the sun, daylight savings time, and some gardening – I’m ready for spring!

At least it’s February now and officially less than one month away from the start of meteorological spring (March 1).  Even if it snows twelve inches tomorrow, the end is in sight.  Despite everything in my Minnesota-born and raised being that tells me it’s not a done deal, I have my heart set on an early spring.  My idle moments have been filled with sketches of garden plans and working lists of varieties (posts will be coming soon!).  I can’t think of a better use for that pent up spring fever energy than to get lost in all the possibilities that spring holds: seedlings, rhubarb, thunderstorms… on the other hand, it’s probably not helping matters, either.  Good thing it will be time to start the broccoli seedlings soon!

On another weather-related note, while I was hunkered down in the midst of life last week there was some pretty big gardening news regarding the changes to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.  I caught the story on MPR and it’s worth a listen if you have a few minutes.  Essentially, here in Minnesota our coldest temperatures are about 5 degrees warmer now.  That’s not really enough of a change that we’re going to see significantly different options for our gardens, but it does mean that some varieties that are marginal for our zone are more likely to make it. It also means that some pests and diseases that are controlled by a deep freeze may be more likely to winter over from year to year as well.  I found it really fascinating to see how they added microclimates into the new map (it even takes urban heat into account).  Check out your exact location on the interactive map.