Spring is a magical time. Birds begin to chirp, the sun makes longer appearances, and warmer weather improves everyone’s mood.  Mother Nature, especially in Illinois, likes to tease us about when spring will decide to come and stick around, tricking us with warm temperatures one week and a snow shower the next.  Thankfully there are signs to indicate that spring has sprung!

You know it’s spring when planting begins.

3-24-16Hints of Spring- PlantingAs the weather warms up, farmers begin getting antsy to get into the field. They must wait for the right amount of moisture in the soil. If the soil is too wet, the weight of the tractor and planter may compact it. Compaction limits the flow of air and water through the soil and makes it harder for a sprouting seed to break through to the surface.  Farmers may also use a field cultivator to kill existing weeds and work up the soil. Once soil and weather conditions permit, farmers begin sowing seeds, which will hopefully turn into a bountiful fall harvest!

You know it’s spring when flowers begin to emerge.

3-24-16Hints of Spring- FlowersPlants have a variety of growing seasons. Some are perennial, meaning they live for more than two years.  Bulbs and tulips are examples of perennials. Some are biennial, meaning it takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle. Examples of biennials are carrots and onions. Summer annuals begin germinating in the spring and are mature by fall of the same year. Germination is the process of a seed beginning to grow after a period of dormancy. Carnations, pansies, and many other common types of flowers are annuals.  Spring is the time that many different types of flowers begin making their way to the surface and become beautiful for the summer months.

You know it’s spring when children begin playing outside.

3-24-16Hints of Spring- Fresh Air and SunshineLike Laura Ingalls Wilder said, “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” After a long winter, everyone is ready to get back outside. Spring signals the time to break out bicycles and baseball gloves, sidewalk chalk and jump ropes. Playing outside has many health benefits, such as increasing attention span and reducing stress. Playing outside also provides a chance to soak in some Vitamin D, which helps prevent bone problems, diabetes, and heart disease. Parents and children alike are thankful when the weather warms up enough to get back outside!

3-24-16Hints of Spring- DirtSpring is a beautiful time as the weather warms up, flowers begin to emerge, and fields are planted. As Margaret Atwood said, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Whether it is from spending the day in a field planting or cultivating, planting a garden, or playing in your backyard, many spring activities result in smelling like dirt, sunshine, and happiness.




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Christy Allen

Christy Allen
University of Illinois

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