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Serving: IN

Year Without A Winter Turns Into Summer

Who knows what else is in store for this year's weather patterns?

Unless you lived in the Snow Belt, you might have thought you slept form fall until spring. And even then, if you lived near the late around South Bend, you only shoveled about half as much as normal. When you woke from your Rip Van Winkle nap, the calendar said mid-March, but it was mid-80's, setting records nearly every day.

Some sanity returned but it remained above normal in April, just not so crazily above normal. Bu the die was cast. Plants and insects that rely on heat units for development were already on the clock. That's why peonies in our front yard thought it was 'Decoration Day' about May 1. They were beautiful the second week of May instead of the last week of May.

Entomologists found tiny rootworm larvae the first week of May, estimating first hatch at about May 4. That's not only the earliest on record, it, as they put it, 'blew the doors off' anything before it, beating the previous early hatch by more than 10 days.

My asparagus was up by mid –March, and headed out making reserves by early May, when it usually hits its peak. Mushrooms were here and gone a couple weeks early, at least according to the big morel hunters. Finding asparagus amongst the grass of an old patch is still more fun for looking for mushrooms hiding under leaves in a woods. I always come out of the patch with more asparagus than I ever came home with mushrooms.

It's as if Mother Nature's clock is off a cog, by nearly a month. What will come next? With so many crops planted early, will guys be combining soybeans by early August? That's not likely, since soybean maturity is controlled more by day length than temperature. Unless the sun gets mixed up and gets off track, soybeans shouldn't be too far out of kelder. Corn is a different story. It's straight heat units that make corn grow and mature. If there's enough heat, and it looks like normal or above temperatures in the immediate future, some early planted corn could wrap thing sup early this year.

Who knows, maybe we'll have fall by Labor Day. Let's hope not. Somewhere in all this madness at some point surely Mother Nature will regain her sanity, and we'll return to something like normal Indiana seasonal weather, whatever that is.

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