Bob Mitchell:This week is a good time for planting
According to a long-time belief established by my late father-in-law, Kenneth Brown, any time this week is a safe time to plant. He was always an advocate of waiting until after Mother's Day to do his major gardening. For him, it was always somewhat of a large undertaking.
He believed this time of year would give the gardener a better chance of avoiding a cold snap that could wipe out what might have been planted earlier. In more than one year, his plan proved to be correct.
Lived on Mill Street
K.E. and Avo lived on Mill Street, now part of the Church of Christ properties. His garden was a large one, running between the old Bible Baptist Church -- a flagstone structure -- and the former John P. and Mary Ray home.
He gardened this plot for years before any power equipment was available. Usually, the initial groundbreaking was accomplished by Donald Craine and his horse. For the remainder of the required plowing, a hand-pushed piece of equipment was all that was available.
Not only did his garden supply items for canning, he was constantly sharing the bounty of his harvest with neighbors and those in need.
A jeweler by profession, he was also an inventor in his shop, complete with welding, blacksmithing and wood working. It was his mindset that his later years provided the know how to build devices that made his large gardening operations much more convenient.
The Farmer's Almanac
A guide that many gardeners follow, the Farmer's Almanac, has this to say about this time of year.
The timing is favorable for planting root crops, beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers and other above-ground crops. This publication says any seed crops planted in this part of the season will tend to rot. This is also a favorable time for planting okra, eggplant and other above-ground crops.
Just a little later in the month, the Farmer's Almanac suggests late beets, beans, peppers, potatoes, onions, carrots and other row crops. Again, seed crops planted this late aren't likely to do well and will yield poorly.
Also later in the month is a fine time for cultivating or spraying.
Moisture for these garden spots appears to be plentiful for the middle of the month, according to the Almanac. Gardeners know that deep-watering their plants is the best plan.
What about fishing?
As the oak tree leaves get about the size of the squirrels ear is said to be the best time to start fishing in the spring. This also rings true for fishing with top-water lures, which is actually the most anticipated form of casting for many anglers. It's also reaching the best time of the year to be out on Table Rock Lake and enjoying the sights of these Ozark hills.
The best fishing days for the remainder of this month are the 19th, 20th, 25th, 28th and 29th. And then there is good fishing supposedly waiting for the spring anglers on May 24, 26, and 27.
It's very doubtful the most ardent of anglers will plan their trips to the water exclusively on these dates.
Most of them believe their particular technique can "force feed" fish at about any weather, depth or hour.
Back in the days when Carter Koon and I were fishing about once a week, we always thought an ideal time to get on Table Rock was when the whippoorwills started doing their thing in the late afternoon. This was also the best time to watch a holdover bald eagle at the lake scour the shallow waters for a meal, make his dive and then retire to a tree on one of the bluffs and complete his feeding cycle.
Get outside time
Good news for any outside activity, that might skirt some of those thunderstorms that could be rolling through the Mississippi Valley this time of the year would be a notation that mostly pleasant weather will be around us the latter part of the month.
This is also the premier time to enjoy watching a planted garden grow into production and get ready for early July and a full harvest of your favorite veggies. That's when the effort put forth in cooperation with Mother Nature and the soil of these Ozarks can provide so much enjoyment.
For our added enjoyment, the season has strawberry plants blooming early, a possible indication that this most valued crop of Barry County will be available early. Wouldn't we be lucky to have this happen?
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.