Ugh, the weather these days. In Shelby, March was one of the warmest on record. People have been cutting grass for over a month, planting gardens (some of which already have corn stalks a foot high), and sneezing their heads off because everything is blooming early. Still, I didn’t take the bait. I diligently looked up the average last frost date for Shelby, April 14, and planned months ago to set out my young heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers a few days after that. And so I did.
Now, on the morning of April 24, 2012, we set a new record low for all April 24s in recorded meteorological history: 34° F. This previous record was held by April 24, 1893.
The official temperature is taken five feet above the ground, and since cold air sinks, the temperature at ground level is colder, say, 32° F. Of course, at 32 ° F frost forms and sure enough patchy frost covered the ground this morning. I didn’t want one of those patches to settle on and kill my plants, so last night the garden looked like an army of misfit boxes and flower pots in ranks across the field, protecting the plants. As far as I can tell, my plants came out unscathed, but my truck didn’t, as I put a small but deep scratch on it when I was backing up in the dark to return from the garden. Ugh.
On a brighter note, meteorologists are forecasting a cooler summer for the southeast because of El Nino.