Extreme farming…

The snow is mostly gone…again

Yesterday, the temperature decided to climb up to just over 40°F (5°C) and stay there for the day…and well into the night. Around midnight, it began to rain. By the time I peeked out this morning, it was back to bitter cold and frozen ground, but not before most of the snow had melted away. This seems really unusual, even for the weather extremes we’ve been having the last five years. It’s the second meltoff so far where the ground actually thawed out. Bob, who has an old school farmer’s memory of conditions going back a good 40 farming years, says THIS is the single weirdest winter he can recall…and it’s only half through. I’m not shocked. As I often (kinda… cheerfully) say to people, having started into this growing life exactly five seasons ago, crazy weather is all I’ve known! Before that, notable weather events were absolutely discrete, novelty items in my mind, there was no practical reason to connect one to the other and maintain any sort of continuous memory of conditions over the years…like farmers and gardeners do. Now that I do have a short bit of weather memory to work with, what it tells me is that, in the field, you really can’t count on ANYTHING at all, from one month to the next, and even less so from year to year. “Gone completely haywire” comes to mind. Garden accordingly… It really is tiny farming as an extreme sport!

7 thoughts on “Extreme farming…”

  1. Great contrast photo with the one from the 27th! As a gardener and allotmenteer here in the UK, the one thing I can predict about the weather is it’s unpredictability! However, I do think it’s even more unpredictable these days. One of our magazines this week has free packets of ‘Sub Arctic Plenty’ on them. It’s a tomato variety (I believe developed in the US or Canada?), that’s meant to be good for cooler conditions. I’m sure this giveaway is in direct response to the poor summer we had over here last year…

  2. VP: I tried Sub Arctic Plenty a little while back, nothing memorable for me. Stupice is by far the fastest, when-all-else-fails tomato, it’s an heirloom, there are apparently lots of cultivars around, all under the same name, even determinate and indeterminate. I grow one of the indeterminates, been sticking to the same seed every year. You should give it a try if you haven’t already! It’s interesting that you notice adaptation to RAPIDLY changing conditions. A lot of the standard,weather-based garden advice, like first and last frost dates, have kinda been out the window for the last 3-4 years… I wonder when seed houses and garden book authors are going to decide to officially address the…CHANGE?

  3. Hi Mike – thanks for the tip re Stupice! It’s featured in 1 of the magazines this month but I’d overlooked it. You’re right about SAP, it’s just handy to have an insurance crop for when the summer’s not good enough for the favourites that like better conditions. I always go for indeterminates too – much less bother, which is a big plus in my book :)

  4. Hi. We live in southern Norway and I’ve just ordered a packet of Sub Arctic Plenty seeds in the hope of a good crop up here!

    I’m very new to this, and one of the reasons I chose SAP was that it was determinate, thinking this meant a bush variety that could easily grow in a container (we have hardly any soil) and didn’t need supporting or side-shooting.

    I’m now puzzled by VP’s comment that indeterminates are less bother! Oh dear! Please can someone explain this to me?

  5. Hi – it’s my mistake! I got my determinates and indeterminates mixed up! You’re right about not having to bother about the side shoots but may need to do some initial staking so that they grow in an orderly fashion. You won’t have to do too much after that though…


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