First Day of Spring Nothing to Celebrate in 2013
By Dave Franzman, Reporter
HIAWATHA, Iowa- You’d have to look hard to find a more miserable first day of spring in eastern Iowa.
Spring officially arrived at 6:02 a.m. Wednesday. But so far, the average temperature for March is under 27 degrees. The normal average for the month is 34 degrees. However in 2012, the March averaged a well-above-normal 51 degrees. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1965 to find a colder first day of spring.
But the greenhouses that put out the plants everybody buys for spring planting have to look at the calendar and not just the weather.
Peck’s Green Thumb in Hiawatha sports a “spring fever” sign out front that might seem like a bit of false advertising considering the weather forecast. But there was feverish activity inside one greenhouse that happens on or about March 20th every year. That’s usually when workers take roses shipped from growers and put them in individual pots with a healthy watering. Potting roses has to be done now so the plants develop buds and are ready to sell at the end of April.
Shirley Peckosh, a co-owner of Peck’s Green Thumb Nursery, said with more plants arriving daily she just has to trust the season will straighten out in time for normal sales.
“I hope everybody wants to have spring and will plant when the time is right. Last year was just so wildly unusual you can’t base anything on what happened last year,” Peckosh said.
Peckosh said the much colder spring this year is having an economic impact. For one, it’s costing a lot more to heat the greenhouses where spring plants sit, grow and get ready for their debut. Psychologically, the warmer spring in 2012 also had people spending money earlier to get ready for planting.
Jolene Van Eschen, a shopper from North Liberty, agreed it’s hard to get motivated for gardening this spring when it’s just so cold out.
“I haven’t done anything outside yet—other than just kind of look at the yard,” Van Eschen said.
Peckosh said despite the antsy feelings some shoppers might have, she says there’s still plenty of time for warm weather to arrive and to bring out the spring buyers.
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