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April's Big Day

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We are a nation of Days. April starts with Fool's Day and ends with Louisiana Purchase Day. This week starts with Earth Day and ends with Arbor Day. Are they trying to tell us something?

They are.

Because the biggest day in April is Last Frost Day. The Last Frost Day means two things. No. 1, it's over. No. 2, it has just begun. Time to start some serious planting.

The definitive work on Last Frost Days was written by Katharine Perry of the Department of Horticulture Science at N. C. State. Her 12-page leaflet pencils Raleigh in for about April 6, Durham for April 13, and Chapel Hill for April 15. Victory Seed Company is more conservative. Durham's Last Frost Day is predicted to be April 29.

What's significant about these ranges is the publication date of the studies. Victory Seed Company used data from 1988, Perry updated her study in 1998. What's happening is global warming. The days have the same length; we have the sun and moon to thank for that. Same amounts of daylight, just lots more warmth. A few years ago, Washington's Cherry Blossom Festival was moved from early April to late March. The Japanese cherry blossoms were blooming a week earlier than 30 years before.

You don't need an almanac to know which way the wind blows.

Seeds germinate depending on the warmth of the soil, so there you go. Shove those Big Boys, Early Girls and German Johnsons in the ground tonight.

This week we have a special lunar bonus with the new moon falling on Thursday the 27th. Almanac folklore tells us to "plant all things that yield above ground while the moon is increasing in size."

What a weekend!

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