Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > September 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--So What Does the First Day of Fall Mean to Me?

BONNIE'S GARDEN--So What Does the First Day of Fall Mean to Me?

This past Thursday, September 22, at 10:21 a.m. was the first “official” day of autumn—in the northern hemisphere, anyway.  In the southern hemisphere, they’re just starting spring. 

On the equinox, the sun is directly over the equator.  After that date, the direct rays of the sun begin shining south of the equator.  It’s the tilt of the earth’s axis that actually determines our seasons.  When the rays are directly on the northern hemisphere, summer.  More sunlight; more heat.  Less direct sunlight; less heat.

The word “equinox” comes from the Greek word “aequus” meaning “equal” and “nox” meaning “night.” On the equinox, the days and nights are approximately the same length. 

Ever since the Summer Solstice in June, our days have been getting about two and a half minutes shorter every single day.  After the Fall Equinox the nights are longer than the days.  The further you get from the equator, the more minutes of daylight you lose every day—hence in Anchorage, Alaska, they’re losing over five and a half minutes of daylight while Miami is losing about a minute and a half.

By Halloween, my niece in Texas will see the sun set at 6:35.  In contrast, my niece in Maine will see the sun set about an hour earlier.  Here in Richmond, we’ll see the sun set somewhere in the middle—about 6:13. 

On the other hand, on Halloween, Barrow, Alaska will see the sun rise at 11:08 a.m. and set at 5:14 p.m. while Key West will see the sun rise at 7:33 a.m. and set at 6:48 p.m.  By November 21, Barrow won’t even have a sunrise or sunset until January 23, when the sun will rise at 1:12 p.m. and set less than an hour later!

So what does this mean for me, as a gardener?  Well, it is a clue that it time for me to do things like aerate and over seed my lawn, prepare my vegetable garden for winter, pull up spent annuals and tuck in fall pansies, plant or transplant trees and shrubs and pick out the bulbs I’ll plant in October.  And, hopefully, it means I won't have to contend of 95 degree heat when I'm raking leaves...

As autumn turns to winter, it’ll be nice to know that the bulbs I planted in October will turn my yard into a rainbow of color as the Spring Equinox arrives in Richmond. 

I love spring and the beautiful flowers that come with it - provided of course I plant my bulbs under the October Sky.
Posted: 9/26/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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