This is the time of year when even city folks start to dream of a little garden of their own. After the winter months, these warmer days have long inspired weather proverbs, poems and superstitions, as you’ll see from these old garden tips from long ago.
Busy Time: Since the earliest times, March and April have been among the busiest months in the garden, as this 16th century poet explains:
“In March and in Aprill, from morning to night;
in sowing and setting good huswives delight.
To have in their garden, or some other plot:
to trim up their house and to furnish their pot.”
Five Hundredth Pointes of Good Husbandrie,
Thomas Tusser, 1559
Weather Proverbs: March’s fickle weather — sometimes freezing, other times idyllic — has long kept farmers and gardeners on their toes. Basically, if it’s cold in the beginning of the month, it’ll be warmer at the end. As this old English weather proverb explains:
“If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb,
If it comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion.”
Old Planting Tips: This 17th century gardening advice reveals the types of foods grown in early kitchen gardens in England, as well as the important role of the lunar cycle on planting schedules:
“In March, the Moon being new, sow Garlic, Chervil,
Marjoram, white Poppy, double Marigolds, Thyme and Violets.
At the full Moon, Chicory, Fennel, and Apples of Love.
At the wane, Artichokes, Basil, Cucumbers,
Spinach, Gillyflowers, Cabbage, Lettuce,
Burnets, Leeks and Savory.”
The English Housewife
Gervase Markham, 1683
Your Garden: Whatever you decide to grow this year, watch for more gardening, food and folklore information on these pages over the next few months. Stay tuned for more exciting giveaways coming soon!