Warm Weather Pushes up Planting Season
It was hot yesterday. Not that I am complaining. The hotter the better as far as I am concerned. For me, it’s a great excuse to get outside, plant some flowers, ride a bike or just sit in the warm sun.
Both on Sunday and Monday, the temperatures rose into the mid to high 80s. It is as if we skipped over spring and settled into summer already.
According to Carrie Suffern, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Baltimore Washington region, this area has broken all kinds of records the past few months. Consider this:
- Yesterday we nearly surpassed the April 16, 2002 record high of 90 degrees;
- This March was the warmest on record since 1872; and
- The average temperature during March was 56.8 degrees. This beats the old record set in 1945 of 56.2.
Suffern said the warm weather experienced this March and April can be attributed to abnormally high pressure over the Northeast which helped keep the jet stream to the North.
Local Nurseries Hustle to Meet Customers’ Demands
The warmer weather has local nurseries and garden centers scrambling to meet customers early requests for summer perennials, annuals and garden plants.
At Dick and Jane’s Farmstand on Route 2, manager Sandy Harner said that Mother’s Day is typically their official kick-off for summer planting. Harner said this year is different with customers already asking for summer varieties.
“Last year we opened on April 23,” Harner said. “With the mild winter and summer-like days, we are three to four weeks ahead of schedule this year.”
Dick and Jane’s has 8o percent of its inventory already. They are awaiting tropical plants, which are expected within a few weeks.
As far as fruits and vegetables, Harner said that sweet-corn will be ready by the beginning of June (that’s much earlier than previous years) and strawberries available within a week.
“People are anxious,” said assistant manager Theresa Engbloom. “The warm weather makes folks want to plant.”
When asked about timing on snow cones, Harner said they hope to be serving them very soon.
At Homestead Gardens, marketing director Tim Hamilton confirmed the mild winter has pushed the planting season up by about three weeks.
“Customer demand has growers hurrying to fulfill the need,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton said Homestead is 90 percent stocked with cooler-minded plants making way for their hot-weather friends.
“With the arrival of tropical plants, we will be 100 percent stocked.” Hamilton said.
He added that customers are not only excited about getting trees, bushes and flowers in the ground but want to get a jump-start on their gardens as well.
“Our customers are asking for tomato and pepper plants which are ‘hot month’ crops,” he said.
The warm weather will stay around through today and then dip back into the 60s on Wednesday.
Suffern said the Climate Prediction Center‘s three-month outlook is forecasting higher than normal temperatures for April, May and June with average rainfall.