Sunday, August 12, 2012

Guest post from SE Michigan

Regarding Global Warming....
It should be fairly obvious to all now that we are in the midst of a global climate change. It is certainly obvious to those in the deep-red sections of the national temperature maps this summer. Extreme or exceptional drought and attendant wildfires are an obvious symptom, but there are others.

Here in Michigan, I had thought we might turn into the garden spot as warm temps moved north. I can already plant for Zone 6 instead of 5. But the transition is erratic. This spring, we had a very early warm-up, which tricked all sorts of things into flowering many weeks early, in March. Then, when perfectly seasonable freezing temperatures followed, all the flower buds were killed. The photo is of my backyard pear and apple trees, which did not set a single fruit this year. The two English walnut trees I planted more than 30 years ago are bearing not a single nut. The neighborhood squirrels, who always impress visitors with their size and robust appearance, are going to starve. My Bing cherry tree’s branches are dying off; it is covered with gray lichen-looking patches and is exuding ruby-red gel. Anyone know what that is or what can be done for it?

Well, this would be sad for me personally, but it’s not all about me. A state Ag person estimates Michigan  lost 95% of our peaches, 90% of apples, and 85% of cherries — and agriculture is extremely important to our economy. Only Washington and New York produce more apples, for example, and we used to own tart cherries (a nearly complete loss this year). Since most of our orchards are family businesses, those families lose their income for the year. U-Pick farms, a Michigan institution, have little to offer their patrons.

Parts of the state, especially the south, have suffered from drought, so corn and soybeans are also doing very poorly. A newer Michigan institution, the Corn Maze, is also endangered. It’s not much of a maze if it’s only knee high. So much for my “garden spot” dreams.


Whiskeymarie said...

I was thinking the same thing: "Oh well, if it's going to warm up at least I can grow a wider variety!"
Not so much.
I did get a fair amount of tart cherries this year, but the 40+ days of 90+ degree weather here in MN is not doing my tomatoes any favors. Pair that with tropical rainforest-like conditions for several weeks where the slugs ate pretty much everything, and this is not turning out to be such a good year after all. Even some of my well-established perennials are struggling.
I'd personally like to go back in time about 12-15 years when spring and summer were the way they're supposed to be.

Weeping Sore said...

I'm soooo sorry about the tart cherries. I've bought dried sour cherries on the web for years: I like them better than other dried fruit. This year I made some cherry compote using fresh local (boring) cherries and a generous portion of sour cherries. Things here are terribly dry and I've pretty much given up on my tomatoes. The only thing that thrives in my yard are herbs.