Spring has sprung, it's time to get planting

Regions south of the Yangtze Delta are the first to enter spring. Usually with the yushui, or Rain Water (the second of the 24 solar terms), planting begins in late February.

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Farmers on their way to the tea field in Mengxi Town, Guizhou Province

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A farmer plows the field with an ox in preparation for spring planting in Dahua Village, Chongqing.

The order of nature holds that the very existence of society depends on the cyclical pattern of agricultural production. With spring on the way in many parts of China, farmers are starting to return to the fields.

When the temperatures are steady about 12-14 degrees Celsius, it is time for spring planting and ploughing. Fields must be readied, weeds pulled, fertilizers applied, seeds sown and seedlings cultivated — a new cycle is well underway.

Jiangnan, or the area south of the Yangtze River, is the first to enter spring. Usually in accordance with the yushui, or Rain Water (the second of the 24 solar terms), spring planting begins when there is an increase in rain around late February.

Early rice and corn are the first to be planted along the valleys of the Yangtze River in south and southeast China.

After about two weeks, there is the third solar term in agriculture known as jingzhe, or Awakening of Insects. Occurring in early March, it marks the time when insects hatch from eggs buried in the soil and dig their way to the surface.

A Chinese proverb goes: “The hoe will get no rest when jingzhe arrives.”

It means farmers must work hard to protect the crops from being eaten by the insects as the weather gets warmer.

Of course, due to different geographic location and climate, spring can start on different dates in different regions. The further the north, the later the spring.

In northern China, spring planting begins between late March and April. In northeast China, it will be until early May.

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Miao minority villagers plough the field in Danzhai County, Guizhou Province.

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Farmers spray pesticide on the potato field in Yancheng County, east China's Shandong Province.

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A farmer uses a tractor to plough the field in Letu Town, Anhui Province.

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Women are on their way home after a day's labor in the fields in Gaopei Village, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

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Fresh spring peaches are picked and packaged for sale in Xinzhai Town, north China's Hebei Province.

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Farmers hand-pollinate peach blossoms to increase the fruit yield in Shuangdun Village, Jiangsu Province.

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Farmers are busy laying sweet potatoes on the ground in Hongqiao Village, Jiangxi Province.

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A farmer prunes an apple tree in an orchard in Caida Village, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

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A Tibetan woman sows the seeds in Jiefang Village of Shangri-La, Yunnan Province.

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A pest-control tractor with sprayers drives in the wheat field in Zhaojin Village of Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province. 



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