Knowing the signs of the seasons is essential to farming. Knowing when to plant and what the weather would be could mean the difference between a year of plenty an a year of poverty. In the era before weather forecasting and satellites, farmers developed traditions of hot to read the signs of the world around them and know what would happen with the weather.
Knowing when spring was coming meant knowing when to prepare to plant crops for the year. North Carolina folklore has developed a tradition of signs of knowing when our always unpredictable spring might arrive. These selections from some of that lore were gathered in the state from the end of the 19th through the middle of the 20th centuries.
Some Srping Folklore
When the mourning dove calls in February, spring is near.
The first robin is a sure sign of spring.
When the beech tree shows green, spring is here.
Blackbirds are a sign of spring.
Thunder in March means an early spring.
When frogs croak, winter is broke.
Thunder in February means frost in May.
When turtledoves coo, spring has arrived.
When the beech shows green, spring has arrived.
Sow cabbage seed on St. Patrick's Day.
Plant potatoes on Good Friday.
Plant corn when the dogwood is in full bloom.
Gainer, Patrick W. Witches, Ghosts, and Signs: Folklore of the Southern Appalachians West Virginia University Press, 2008
White, Newman Ivey the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore Duke University Press, 1964
Wigginton, Eliot, ed. Foxfire 2, Anchor, 1973