Climate Change & My Garden

on Aug 01, 2019 by Michael Rupured

More than thirty days with little rain and highs above 90 degrees have taken a toll on my little garden. After much deliberation, debate, and a water bill three times the usual amount, I decided to withhold life support.

Since pulling the plug, we’ve had some rain — not much, but enough to keep things alive a little longer. How long remains to be seen. Hot, dry conditions will likely persist into October.

Keeping my summer garden alive is not a new struggle. Heat, drought, and an abundance of deer have long conspired against me. Though I grow tomatoes every year, ripe fruit are nearly as rare as snow in summer.

By comparison, my first winter garden was a nearly effortless success. The threat of freezing temperatures was a concern, but wasn’t a problem and I never had to water. Weeds were few and far between too, and I harvested all the veggies I’d planted.

The long range forecast for Athens is calling for another mild winter. From the end of November to the beginning of April, lows aren’t expected to fall below freezing even once. The forecast will change some, but next winter looks to be even milder than last year.

Scientists say the preponderance of evidence points to global warming. I’ve always been a believer, but never delved into the science. Didn’t need to. If a vast majority of scientists agree on anything, it’s true.

Then I stumbled upon “Decoding the Weather Machine” (Nova, 2018) on Netflix. Technology has enabled scientists from widely varying fields to collect and analyze massive amounts of previously unavailable data. Quibble about the forecasts if you like, but the earth is warming, and fossil fuels are the cause.

The summer garden has always been my focus. My cold-weather garden consists of a few pansies and violas for some winter color. From now on, I think I might be better off planting a few hardy annuals for summer color and focusing my efforts on a winter garden. I’ll keep you posted.