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June 3, 2011

Weird Weather A Gardner's Dilemma

June is here in the Bay Area of California. Thoughts of blue skies and sunny warmth come to mind with all the summer veggies springing forth with abundance and promise. Well only in the mind it seems.

Last year we had a "cold" summer. Summer plantings did OK, but not great. The yields were most definitely down compared to other years. It wasn't exactly cold compared to winter but there was a distinct lack of sunny days and night time temps were lower than is usual for the time of year and the area. Which brings me to the point of "what now is to be expected?"

This year is now promising to be the same as last. Had I known that it was going to remain chilly all the way into June then I could have planted more cool weather crops to munch on - but I went with what it is 'supposed' to be around here at this time of year and let the peas, beets, kale and broccoli run out while planting tomatoes etc. I have yet to plant out an eggplant as it seems too cold. Same with cukes. I have baby cukes in waiting - but it just doesn't seem right to put them out in cloudy days with night temps sometimes in the 40s. I did however plant out a lot of kohlrabi - which are having the time of their life out there in the yard in the cool climate.

This is the second year of weird weather patterns, and if I was a farmer I would be in deep doo doo - and not just from the horse manure. If you cannot depend on a weather pattern being similar each year then it is hard to know what to plant. I want to eat from the garden but right now it is pretty slim pickings.

Apparently England is having a sizzling spring and the Mid West is being blown away with tornadoes and such - so it seems we really do have changing weather patterns. I decided today that next year I will plan on having an extended spring and see what happens. If I sew a second planting of cool weather crops along with the summer crop at least I will be prepared and have something to eat if it's cool, and if day temps go into the 80s or 90s and the kale bolts or wilts then I will be covered.

Is this a new weather 'pattern' or just a couple of odd years? The jury is still out on that one.