Knowing when to plant in Nevada is always a guess

With spring in the air I'm finding it hard to resist the urge to buy out the nursery and start plunking seeds in the ground right and left.

After more than 30 years in Nevada, though, I know better. Weeks like the last one, when the good Lord is turning the snow showers off and on like a kid at a water spout, are common.

I've been snowed on during the 4th of July Parade, though I don't think it's ever snowed on my birthday, which is in August (no presents, please).

Last week I planted 10 wonderful little strawberry plants from my friend Cathleen -- in the snow. OK, so I waited for one of the breaks in the weather. But all of my green thumbing gets me mixed results at home.

Monday, I bought a handful of seed packs to begin a vegetable garden. This will be the second or third time I've planted vegetables. I'll be planting peas, carrots, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes -- even though I won't eat them -- beans and lettuce as soon as I dig the seed pack out of the trash where my husband promptly tossed them as soon as he saw them.

Salad for most everyone in my family, except me, is "what food eats."

Another favorite nickname for salad at our house is "that green sh--."

My husband the other night stabbed the salad in the salad bowl with his steak knife to make sure the "green sh--" was really dead before he passed it.

"Put that stuff over there. It might jump on my plate," he said.

In case you couldn't guess, we're not vegetarians. You'd probably call us carnivores except that we don't generally refer to humans as animals, though I'm sure the shoe fits in one or more cases.

We'd be more aptly named like the dinosaurs as meat-eaters. Nonetheless, I'll persist with my planting even if I'm not quite sure when I'll start.

In Virginia City, the old timers say not to plant until the snow is off McClellan Peak.

In Reno, it's when the snow is off Peavine Mountain. But I've only lived in Johnson Lane for a few years and I don't know where to look.

If I waited for the snow to melt off of Jobs Peak I could be waiting and waiting and waiting.

There's no snow on Hot Springs Mountain, and except for the snow that last week brought a brief respite there, there hasn't been snow on Hot Springs for awhile.

The Pine Nut Mountains are a mystery to me. Mostly they seem like a place a few people go and never come out, sort of like an alien transport station or something. There's plenty of snow still on those mountains, but still no clear, time-tested planting mark that I've heard of.

My daffodils bloomed in March, and were quickly frozen. My tulips bloomed a two weeks ago, but I saved them from last week's blizzards. My trees all have leaves, but I still have no idea when to plant.

But it doesn't really matter. Johnson Lane is still Nevada and no matter when I plant, how long I wait, it will still freeze or snow or the wind will blow it all to Lyon County.

So, I guess I'll be content with visions of beans dancing in my head, go mow the lawn and pull some weeds -- which, for some unknown reason, continue to grow like weeds no matter what.

Kelli Du Fresne is features editor of the Nevada Appeal.


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