A Grain of Truth

Checked the futures prices for grain crops lately? Read the Corn and Soybean Digest? Notice how often the word “erratic” appears in farm reports lately? Remember this well known verse from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s  “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”?

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

Maybe it’s time to retune this to reflect the erratic weather:

No rain, no rain, rain so fair,
And all the crops do bate;
Water, water, every where,
We cannot irrigate.

Farmers ought to know what I mean, even if “bate” isn’t in their vocabularies. These are times of drought and flood. Worldwide.

I wrote about the changing growing seasons back in “The Bottom Line Heats up on Climate Change” posted in November 2010. I suspect the Arbor Day map referenced in that post is already out of date. For example, I planted my peas in late March this year. Just a few years back, other gardeners scoffed when I planted them in early April, for northern Colorado gardeners had “always” waited until mid-April, even early May to plant.

Not any more.

Of course, that’s not really the central problem. My peas came up just fine, but all my crops suffered serious damage from a hail storm a couple of weeks back. So far, everything’s bounced back, but plants can only endure so much bad weather, and it sure looks like the natural water supply is swinging wildly.

Here in Colorado, much of the eastern plains are in serious drought while the mountain snowpack is twice normal. That meant those of us lucky enough to have irrigation rights got free irrigation water quite early as water was dumped from reservoirs in an attempt to prepare for the intense runoff as the warming days rapidly melt that mountain snow. Flooding is almost inevitable in Colorado this year.

And it ain’t just Colorado that’s worried by floods and droughts. Unfortunately, bad weather’s becoming the norm. Worldwide.

Don’t believe me? Read this from the June 5 2011, New York Times: “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself” (I posted a reprint so people can avoid the NYT’s new viewing policy, but feel free to click over to the original if you think there’s been any tinkering with the article.)

Now, back to the garden. We had free runoff water yesterday and the weedin’s gonna be easy.



2 Responses to “A Grain of Truth”

  1. babzzy Says:

    Except here. No summer here. (MT) had three nice days, now back to 100% rain for the next 12 days. However, while a garden is possible, fields of grain may not be up in these rocky steep hills….

  2. babzzy Says:

    I’ll qualify that- NORTH WEST MT is soggy. I think it snowed in Bozeman again this weekend…next weekend it’ll be 200 degrees there…

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