Early spring planting: the pros and cons

Posted at 3:35 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:19:49-04

Thanks to Mother Nature, 24 out of February's 28 days had above average temperatures, and nine of those days even peaked above 80 degrees. So, there's no doubt that spring sprang a little early... and for the most part, local growers are thrilled.

"This corn here was planted March the second. Today is the 21st, so it's almost three weeks old," Neil Walter, a Coryell County farmer, said. 

"Well, we are all dry land here. That means we have no irrigation, so we depend upon mother nature for all of our moisture. And success depends on the year, as we say in farming, we live very close to Mother Nature, whatever she deals us is what we have," Walter added.  

And this year Mother Nature has produced a particularly early spring with rather warm temperatures. 

"Sometimes Mother Nature throws us a curve and sends us a fake, and we plant too early. And then we have cold weather after that and it hurts our emergence of our crop and could kill it even," Walter said.  

Luckily, this year there haven't been many curve balls. The warm weather that came early has stayed and Walter's corn crops are thriving.

"We were able to plant our corn probably a week or so earlier than normal, and hopefully, that will translate into a little bit earlier harvest," Walter added. 

Next week, Walter's planting cotton, and hopefully, that crop will be equally abundant. But, crops aren't the ones that got a head start... plants and flowers did, too!

"Our perennials that normally don't start blooming until April or May are already full of color," Ben Gillilan, the owner of Hidden Falls Nursery & Garden Center, said. "That's wonderful because wildflower season is upon us. So, we got the bluebonnets starting on the highways. They all started a little early this year." 

Walter said his only concern regarding his crops is that if it's this hot right now, how hot will it be later in June and July? He said he's going to need steady rains to make his crops grow and normal summer-like temperatures later on in order to be prepared for harvest.

Ben Gillilan also added people can expect a longer blooming season because of the weather we've seen.

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