State of the Farm

Our changing weather patterns.

Farming is all about weather and in southeast Texas, that’s mostly about heat, humidity and the interspersing of flooding rains with extreme dryness. But this shift in our winter weather patterns is adding a new element. As I write this segment on February 3rd, we await something called a “wintry mix”, which is all about sleet, snow and ice. I’ve lived and thrived in the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast all of my life, and have embraced our weather because I know how the other half lives. I’ll deal with June, July, and August as long as I don’t have to deal with December, January, February, March and April in the northern climes. Wintry mix was not a phrase in my lexicon until recently, nor did I want it to be. That was something that happened in Chicago, and my brief experiences with Chicago, an otherwise fine city, convinced me that I wanted none of it in my neighborhood. But Mother Nature has no interest in my preferences, so we follow the No Whining rule and strive to adapt. And adapting generally follows the adage that you will learn more from your failures than your successes, which is what I did this past weekend. I failed, and therefore I learned.

Early February has traditionally been my optimistic start of the spring gardening season. I have gotten away with the early planting of the root vegetables and the leafy lettuces along with the pansy flowers in early February for a long time now. This year looks to be different, especially because I bought Swiss Chard plants as well as pansies instead of sowing their seeds. I have no doubt that I will find those plants dead by this weekend. So the next question will be whether the sowed seeds will emerge with their tender vegetation and if they do, will it be just in time to get nipped by another wintry mix. Be a roll-the-dice farmer if you must, but understand that you might roll boxcars.