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Episode 17 Phenology

Today I discuss the ancient practice of phenology.  This is something that I’m sure a lot of us do in our lives outdoors and never really even knew it had a name (other than “folk wisdom” – but it really isn’t).

The practice of phenology is best described as the correlation between an anticipated event (such as us planting a seed, or hunting for a wild edible) and an event that occurs in nature.  For instance, if you hear “peeper” frogs, it is time to plant peas.  More common phenological events are old sayings like “Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.  Red sky at night, sailor’s delight”.  These sayings are rooted in scientific observations such as effects of barometric pressure and other natural occurrences.  This moves these observations well out of the realm of common folk wisdom.

Phenology is tracked by many different organizations currently.  In the past, it was written about and used in China, in 974 BC and in Japan for the past 1200 years.  Early farmers without thermometers had no choice but to rely on these indicators for planting.  The good news is that these indicators are still around!

A good site for phenological events (warning – it is area specific – sorry).

Gardening “by the Moon”.

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