Reviewing the Summer

If you recall, way back in March, I wrote a post entitled “Can YOU Predict the Weather?” If you recall, I was skeptical of the assumption that this summer was going to be just as scorching as last summer, just because we’d had a warm winter and spring. We also looked at two very different sources of long-term forecasts to see what they were projecting for the summer.

The first source was the National Weather Service’s long-term outlook. At that time, they were predicting that La Nina would be gone by the end of May and the El Nino cycle would be starting, resulting in a normal to cool summer that was normal to above average rainfall. A prediction from a month after that article was predicting even chances of normal/high/low temperatures and rainfall. Well, obviously neither of those things happened…in fact, I saw a press release last week that said they were expecting that same La Nina/El Nino transition to take place in late August/early September. I’ll believe it when I see it!

The other source we looked at was the Farmers Almanac, and yes, it still makes me twitchy. Their prediction was cooler than normal temperatures across Kansas, with dryer than normal weather in the east and wetter than normal in the west. Yeah…right…

Obviously the predictions were pretty much wrong across the board, and the assumption of the general public that it would be hot and dry again turned out to be right.

In my opinion, this summer was both worse than last year and better. Because of a second summer of heat and drought, the drought conditions and stress to plants was much worse this year than last year. I expect we’ll be seeing the consequences on trees, shrubs, and perennials for several years to come.

On the other hand, in terms of growing a lot of vegetables and fruits, this was a much better year. The warm, early spring helped get things growing faster and earlier. Then, the worst of the heat didn’t really kick in until mid-June and broke in early/mid-August. Last year it was nasty hot from late May through mid-September. (Yes, we just had another few days of heat, but that will be over soon.) The tomato crop was really good, albeit early. There is also something of a lull in production right now, since most of the summer vegetables are finished or on the downswing.

The other challenge this year, of course, was the plethora of insects. I don’t know when I’ve seen so many cucumber beetles early and throughout the season, as well as aphids on EVERYTHING in the late summer. Of course, other insects have been more or less absent, so I guess we can’t complain too much.

Now all we have to do is sit back and wait for this supposed “El Nino” cycle to kick in. I don’t know about you all, but I’m not going to be holding my breath!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on September 4, 2012, in Around the Garden and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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