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Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what’s the matter; That you have such a February face, So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?
–William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
In this issue, you’ll find information on these topics:
We are asking for your help in picking a cover for our new Everyday Cookbook. Click here to take the survey.
St. Valentine Weather Lore
February 14 was thought to be a weather and crop prognosticator for the year to come. To St. Valentine, the spring is a neighbor.
The crocus was dedicated to St. Valentine, and ought to blossom about this time.
St. Valentine, Set thy hopper [seed basket] by mine.
Some gardeners put their full faith and trust in the idea of gardening by the Moon — that is, setting out plants when the Moon either is full or on its way to being new, or when the Moon is new or on its way to being full. They swear by the outcome: bigger harvests and bigger blooms.
If you’ve never tried gardening by the Moon, why not try it this season? We can tell you what and when to plant, depending on your location, anywhere in the United States and Canada. You’ll find all the dates and details in our Outdoor Planting Table.
Oh, in case you’re wondering: Gardening by the Moon doesn’t involve gardening at night or in the dark (although you can certainly try it . . .)!
With best wishes for abundance this coming gardening season, The Old Farmer’s Almanac
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February 12 — Abe Lincoln’s Birthday
In addition to his more famous achievements, Lincoln is the only U.S. president to have received a U.S. patent, for something he described in this way: "A new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steamboat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling their draught of water to be readily lessened to enable them to pass over bars, or through shallow water, without discharging their cargoes."
February 14 — Valentine’s Day
Although a Christian bishop named Valentine was martyred on February 14 in A.D. 271, there is nothing in this legend to account for the custom of choosing a sweetheart on this day. By the early 1600s, it was a popular custom to send handmade valentines (gifts or greetings) to your sweetheart; around 1800, the first commercial cards appeared. Cards were usually sent anonymously. As early as 1822, an English official reported having to hire extra postal workers on this day.
Surprise your sweetheart with one of our E-cards today.
February 15 — Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday
Susan B. Anthony was born 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts. She was brought up in a Quaker family with long activist traditions. Early in her life, she developed a sense of justice and moral zeal. She lived in Rochester, New York, during the most politically active period of her life. It was here where she was arrested for voting in 1872, before women had the right to vote. Anthony is best known as an advocate for women’s suffrage, but she began her career as an outspoken proponent of temperance (abstinence from alcohol).
February 18 — George Washington’s Birthday (observed)
George Washington’s birthday was celebrated as a holiday on February 22 for many years, even though he was actually born on February 11, 1731. Why the difference? During Washington’s lifetime, people in Great Britain and America switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar (something most of Europe had done in 1582). As a result of this calendar reform, people born before 1752 were told to add 11 days to their birth dates. Those born between January 1 and March 25, as Washington was, also had to add one year to be in sync with the new calendar. By the time Washington became president in 1789, he celebrated his birthday on February 22 and listed his year of birth as 1732.
Garden Tips for February
Has this newsletter got you eager to get going on your garden?
Every month in every garden, there are simple tasks that can be done. You’ll find . . . • suggestions for planning a salad garden or potting window boxes
• tips for getting lilacs to bloom better and rhubarb to produce