Friday’s Top Story: Early Spring Planting

12 Apr
Friday’s Top Story: Early Spring Planting

I’ve done it now, succumbed to peer pressure. Yesterday I did something that I never ever do,  I helped plant tomatoes . . . in April! I help plant tomatoes all the time, but in April, never.

Categorize this blog post in the category, Do as Renea says, not as she does. 

Knowing in my heart that it is too early to put delicate plants in the ground and realizing that Mr. Thomas, who never plants before May first, is probably right, yesterday (April 11, 2013) I followed Kelle’s lead and planted the seedlings she had sprouted for Billy’s garden. She’s the seed-sprouting queen, by the way.

I rationalize that the seedlings are heirlooms and perhaps stronger than other varieties. As Kelle said, the seedlings were tiny and “need to be in Billy’s dirt.” Truth be told, we needed to be in the dirt as well.

Tiny tomato plants are barely visible in the dirt.

Tiny tomato plants are barely visible in the dirt.

April is a volatile month. The whole tale of March being a lion or lamb rings true, but here lately April is schizophrenic at worst, unpredictable at best. Just ask the folk in Colorado who are digging out from another blizzard. On the east coast, Mother Nature sends violent thunderstorms in April, like the one that happened within hours of yesterday’s planting. I’m not even going over to Billy’s today. I am confident the seedlings are heads-bent leaves covered with mud.

The storms also bring cooler temperatures, or the “winters;” Dogwood winter (when the trees are in bloom) and blackberry winter when blooms are just forming on the vine. The Dogwoods should be in full bloom in a couple of days and blackberries have another couple of weeks, meaning we could experience another cold-snap. This makes me, who track these kinds of things, very hesitant with respect to planting. And then there were the “signs.” The zodiac didn’t give the green light to plant until today.

At Billy's, tomato-planting time means all hands on deck (and in dirt). Truly a joyful day.

At Billy’s, tomato-planting time means all hands on deck (and in dirt). Truly a joyful day.

But when helpers show up, it’s time to crank the tractor and get on hands and knees to plant, and say a prayer that this year we will be blessed with what Billy calls boocoos of tomatoes.

But, just in case, I have plenty of tomato seedlings at my house ready for May first.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. In 2012 she released Stress-Free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. 2014 will see the release of In the Kitchen with Billy: Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches. She is currently working on her first novel. She would love to hear from you. Visit her at

Follow Billy on Faceboook HERE

Footnote: “boocoo” is the Americanized version of the French adverb “beaucoup” meaning much or many.


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3 responses to “Friday’s Top Story: Early Spring Planting

  1. Dru Tiben

    April 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Whoowhooo! Bravo for being brave! We got down to 7 deg. after the snow a coupla days ago. I had to put plastic wrap on my seedling buckets in the ‘sun room’. Hope to get them in the ground after Mother’s Day.
    Dru (from Coilorado)

  2. Satin Sheet Diva

    April 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I’m telling you, these posts are making me contemplate a small garden. :-).

  3. GV

    April 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    My heirlooms are in rapid rooters and going into the ground next week. I think we’re safe, but what do I know?


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