The crocuses are in full bloom in my side yard. I haven't had time to rake yet, but they've popped up through the old leaf layer anyway.
Another job still waiting is to rake out my side yard raised beds and plant peas. It's time. I could have planted peas last week. I don't think it'll matter to be a bit late.
As I admire the crocuses, I'm thinking that these bright faces are a good sign that its time to plant pea seeds. Sometimes its hard to know when your last frost is and back-calculate 10 weeks. Sometimes its hard to know how warm the soil is. But early crocuses are a good sign that it is time. Another sign I'm watching is the daffodils, which are about 6 inches high in my yard.
At my community plot only a mile away its still too cold to sow peas. No sign of crocuses there and daffodils are not even 1 inch. Brrr.
Watching natural cues is called phenology. Its not something I have heard much about from gardeners. I (and most others) go by the calendar. But I love to see the progression of the seasons and how each event comes in its own time.
Here's some of the phenology advice I've come across:
When red winged blackbird females return it is time to plant peas.
When the chickadees build their nests, plant peas and spinach.
When dandelions are blooming plant potatoes, beets, lettuce, spinach and carrots.
When the iris bloom, plant the peppers and eggplants outside.
Plant beets, lettuce, spinach when lilac is in first leaf.
When lilac blooms, plant beans, cukes and squash.
Plant corn when oak leaves are the size of squirrels ears.
Plant your corn when apple blossoms start to fall.