We dish on North Carolina’s best plants, farmers’ markets, and destinations this spring.
April Showers bring May flowers…and March? Well March brings consistent(ish) sunshine, warm (ish) weather, and the first signs of Spring.
If you’ve lived through the end of a North Carolina winter, you know it’s a wild ride – 75 and sunny Sunday through Monday. Cold, wet, and rainy on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Spring is officially here, so here’s a list of things to do and to keep in mind as we finally come to the end of this seasonal rollercoaster.
Gardening has long been a widely loved activity, whether you grew up gardening outside with grandparents, or recently found out you could grow an indoor herb garden. If you’ve decided to test out (or continue) with your green thumb, there’s a lot to be said for planting flowers and veggies that are native to North Carolina.
For one, they help save the bees, and bring other pollinators to your area. They also require less fertilizer, pesticides, and water, with beautiful flowers and foliage.
The most important date of spring gardening is the average last frost date. Some plants need to be started up to eight weeks before that date and some can’t be planted until well after. Don’t worry if you think it’s too late to start your plants. Local farmers’ markets and nurseries usually have “pre-started” plants available around the time they should be planted in the ground.
Some Spring Flower and Veggie Favorites:
While some people choose to plant spinach, arugula, and pea seeds in late March, you can also buy seedlings from a local nursery or farmers market and transplant them into your garden.
Speaking of farmers’ markets, it’s their time to shine, and a great way to support your local community.
Not only are small farmers and businesses selling their products (often home-grown and handmade) but it’s a great way to form community bonds, and stock your pantry with seasonal ingredients. Seasonal produce is fresher, tastier, and has more nutrients than non-seasonal foods because it hasn’t had to travel as far or be preserved for as long.
Check out NC Farm Fresh for a directory of farmers markets by county. Some of our favorites include:
Cobblestone Farmers Market in Winston-Salem – Saturdays 9:30 a.m – 12 p.m.
The Wilmington Farmers Market – Saturdays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
State Farmers Market in Raleigh – Monday – Saturday 5 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WNC Farmers Market in Asheville – Monday- Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
You can’t write about a North Carolina spring without mentioning outdoors. Wandering on your local greenway, visiting nearby lakes and ponds, and weekend picnics are all great ways to enjoy the sun.
Here’s a list of trips and activities you may not have had on your mind:
Soak in a clawfoot tub overlooking Lake Fontana.
Check out the Flower Hill Nature Preserve or botanical gardens near you.
Have a night out and watch a local baseball game.
Take the scenic route on horseback at the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Weather & Pollen
Last but not least, we’re down to the nitty gritty details of temperatures, bugs, and pollen.
Using Raleigh as a reference, the average low in March is around 38 degrees, and the average high is 59. This steadily increases until May when average temperatures range from 63 to 82 degrees fahrenheit.
Spring, as lovely as it is, is also when pests start coming back to the gardens, yards, and homes across North Carolina. Watch out for ant and termite infestations that damage the wood in your homes, wasps, bedbugs, and the return of mosquitoes. Call your local pest control agency if you have any questions about infestations.
And of course, with everything coming back into bloom, be prepared for pollen. Allergy season isn’t fun for those of us sensitive to the yellow powder, and right around April it starts to coat everything in its path. While some swear that consuming locally sourced honey can help prevent allergies, consult your doctor about any remedies or medications that may help you.