© R. L. Whitney. Originally Published in the King's County Record, February 21, 2012.
It all started when we came down here to stay. There was a country-store type thermometer hanging on the little kitchen porch and I had my father's old barometer to hang up inside. What could be more inevitable than to begin to keep track, in a gardener's calendar, of the progress of the temperature and barometric pressure with a view to being able to tell when it was time to do whatever we needed to do, like plant beans or pick the tomatoes?
The first summer we were here a long series of days with temperatures in the 30's gave me joy, having always preferred heat to cold. Many years in Toronto where it was perfectly possible to have really hot weather at Easter and chilly weather the rest of the summer made us long for country where summer meant something more (or rather, less) than long sleeves and sweaters.
© R. L. Whitney. Originally published on 13 May, 1987
We are in that "in-between" season right now when it is too early to do much to the garden but the seed orders are in and there is really no reason to go through the catalogues another time, although I got a seed catalogue from a company down in South Carolina a few weeks back that has me thinking disloyal thoughts about our puritanical climate.
My wife, more given to action than to words, seized a garden fork and a rake the other weekend and produced a raised bed within minutes. It was obviously the work of one who was tired of waiting for 40 growing degree days (GDD) to arrive with some sort of regularity.
If I remember the drill correctly (I forget it after the growing season is over in the Fall and always have to go look it up in the Spring but at the moment I can't find the book that purveys the needed wisdom), you take the high and low for the day, subtract 40 from each and the result is the number of growing-degree days to base 40. Yesterday's high here was 57 and the low was 29. Plus 17 and minus 11 works out to plus six GDD yesterday. Don't ask me what it was in Celsius. (Alternatively, you could add high and low together and subtract 80 to get the same result. Why didn't I think of that before?)
Words & Images
We moved to our farm in Sussex, New Brunswick from Toronto in 1977, only moving away in 2014.