THE WINTER THAT WASN'T

or sorta… kinda…. never really….

We bounced up and down the temperature gauge this winter leaving gardens and people alike scratching their heads in confusion.

The winter that wasn’t had to do with with a weather phenomenon with a pretty name — La Nina.

California teeters on the edge of the worst drought in the state’s history, officials said Thursday after reporting that the Sierra Nevada snowpack – the backbone of the state’s water supply – is only 61 percent of normal. read full article

Looking around the garden and the entire city you can sense that spring is going to be a bit early.  Or this faux spring could be premature.  With the groundhog predicting 6 more weeks of winter, there’s still a chance of being hit with a late cold snap.  Given the nature of the weather this year, anything can happen.

Of course news reports like this one fail to help those of us who dig in the earth for their dinners.  Gardening is hard enough but now throw in the climate change element and that will really test our gardening skills – an patience.  Well, come to think of it,  even if you have mastered all the gardening skills in the world, you can’t really do anything if nature throws you a curve ball.

How has is the weather affecting your planting efforts this year?

Comments(13)

  1. kristi says:

    The weather in New Orleans has been unusally cold this year. We had an extemely rare snow in December last year which broke the record for the earliest snow ever in this area, and here we are today facing the posibility of snow sprinkles again. Unheard of for our area.

    The local strawberry farmers were really sweating their crop, but it looks as if all the row covers and measures taken protected them from the brunt of it. This really has been the biggest challenge this year.

  2. Shirley says:

    We have had colder snaps on this property than I can remember in years. We are in a microclimate and almost never get below freezing even when the surrounding area does. Even then their dip is just that, a few hours maybe. This year we have had maybe 7 or 8 nights below freezing once for 10 hrs. We’re expecting lower 20’s for several nights starting tomorrow. Looks like I’ll be planting the spring garden late this year.

  3. Judy says:

    It has also been much cooler here on the Gulf Coast than our normal winters. I will be so glad when it starts to warm up — but, according to the little groundhog, we have 6 more weeks of cold weather 🙁 Well, that’s ok, I just started my tomato plants yesterday so they will be ready to transplant in 6 weeks. Now, if the cold weather just doesn’t last longer than 6 weeks LOL!

    Also – everyone, don’t forget to sign up for the Monthly Donation to Path to Freedom! I just committed to $5.20 per month ($5 to Path to Freedom and $0.20 for PayPal fees). If you are like me, I read the postings daily on this site (as well as being a member of Freedom Gardens). You can pledge $1.20, $5.20 or $10.20 per month — whatever fits your budget. I really appreciate the Dervaes and all of the information that they share! Here’s the link for the monthly donation:
    http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/2009/01/19/monthly-donation-option/

  4. gina says:

    I havnt been gardening long enough to notice a climate change effect.

    I wanted to stop by to say I received the new issue of Mother Earth News mag in the mail this week and really enjoyed your article. You guys are my heros!

  5. kevin says:

    Wow. Scary article. I am looking forward to seeing your families solution to water. What do you do now? Do you have some sort of system set up, or do you use the good old fashioned watering can?

    We are having a very low precipitation winter here in my village as well, but one thing that visitors always marvel at is the constantly running rivers and the amount of water. In fact, we don’t even water crops here (other than the rice paddies which we flood) the area is so wet that we just plant and pick. When there is a famine, it is caused by *too much* water (or too cloudy skies and not enough sun).

  6. Chris says:

    Kevin,
    Are you in America? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to! … Again Thanks for everything! C

  7. kevin says:

    @Chris

    In Japan. Specifically in the “snow county” one of the snowiest year-round inhabited areas in the world. (most years).

  8. Stacy says:

    Went to the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association meeting tonight, and one of the gentlemen there indicated the state’s farmers, specifically almond growers, have been warned they will be getting 1/3 less water this year (because of that 61% snowpack you mention) and therefore many plans for extending or replanting orchards have been nixed – it is pointless to plant new, young trees when you won’t have enough water to put flowers on the ones you’ve already got. Lower fuel costs than last year and better controls on the CCD by commercial apiaries means more out of state beekeepers are importing their hives for the almond crop this year, too, so beekeeping fees are dropping due to competition from out of state. Rough on our small local apiaries, but good news for the almond farmers as they look at a coming year of scarce water.

    That said, I did notice on a trip up to San Francisco this past weekend that the hives are out in force already – many orchards already have them in place, and several otherwise empty plots of land had pallets of them sitting around waiting to be deployed. The windshield collected several. The orchards don’t seem to be in bloom yet, but I did see more recently planted than the few I saw that had been recently taken out/toppled over. Drip irrigation is the norm in the orchards at least – here’s hoping it’s efficient enough to manage on our limited resources this year.

  9. Shreela says:

    I’m from Houston, zone 9B, and hubby’s from Tx’s Panhandle. So every year he tells me I’m planting too early when I put in 1/4 of the seeds in late January or early February. He’s been right a few times, but we’ve also eaten fresh veggies in March quite a few times too.

    This year I’m only planting stuff in the ground that I’ve been able to grow successfully in the past: Yardlong beans and summer squash. I’m going to try tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in self-watering containers this year, since I only get a few of each with our dreadful soil.

  10. risa b says:

    Oregon — Willamette Valley. We keep having stiffer frosts than they predict, but often quite warm days. We have kale, spinach, beets, chard, cabbage, sunchokes, elephant garlic, leeks, onions happening at present, and the broadbeans are up. Row covers are a help, though we mismanage them as we both work full time! Anything that misses protection and dies goes straight to the chickens, anyhoo.

  11. Margret says:

    Tallahassee, FL – Like the person from Nawleans, we’re having a pretty chilly winter here. We’re on the leading edge of a cold snap which will drop our temps to 20s & maybe even teens the next coupla nights. Thank goodness for the fireplace, even though it’s not terribly efficient. I’m so sorry y’all in Cal are looking at another dry year. Mulch mulch mulch is the only advice I can give, other’n pray for rain.

  12. kevin says:

    *Very* interesting 25 min PBS report about water in California, where it comes from, where it goes, and its future.

    http://aguanomics.com/2009/02/quest-water-show.html

  13. C says:

    Thanks for the reply Keven, I’m sorry for the delay, but hope you get this! Glad to here about someone in Japan! C

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