But if you are a gardener, you already know that your world is getting warmer! But most of my proof was anecdotal. And because the seasons are spread across 365 days, it’s sometimes hard to be sure about what you saw last year or the year before.
I do know that my garlic sprouted in February last year, almost 3 weeks ahead of schedule. I saved most of my crop but I only thought to check the beds because I saw forsythia blooming…in February.
This year, migrating birds started showing up at my feeders the first week of February. I’ve seen Downy Woodpecker and Red Wing Blackbird yearlings struggling to get food around the thousand plus grackles, starlings and cow birds that crowd the bird seed and suet feeders.
They arrived a full month ahead of schedule when temperatures were in the 50’s and 60’s. It looked like Spring was getting started; it seemed like the right time to fly North and start mating and nesting. Then the temperatures plummeted into single digits and the birds got caught by two snow storms and one ice storm.
Volatile weather is another symptom that the globe is heating up. Arctic streams of cold weather are pouring across the mid West and shoving into the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states. Snow is falling in states and towns that have never seen snow before.
Again, some might say that this is all anecdotal – it doesn’t prove that our planet is getting warmer. Want hard evidence that the globe is heating up? Just visit the National Phenology Network – NPN – and watch spring weather creep up the East coast a full 20 days early!
While the rapid approach of Spring may seem like good news, it is really symptomatic of larger and much more serious issues, globally. And it changes any type of growing, including backyard gardening, into a roll of the dice.
That said, I’m still starting seedlings in the basement. This week it’s 48 tomato plants of 5 different varieties. Why so many? I count on some of the babies not making it to adulthood. And I always give tomato plants to 3 of my fellow gardeners (in North Carolina, Virginia and right here in Pennsylvania).
That should leave me with about 24 to 28 tomato plants for my backyard garden. And it ensures that I have plenty of tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and yes, sometimes dinner!
Hope your garden starts are doing well this very cold morning in PA.