Archive for April 27th, 2013

Why average ≠ normal

OnionsWell, everything’s about a month behind. These onions would normally have gone in mid-March. By now, they’d be at least a foot high and the bulbs would be starting to swell.

Obviously this year that’s a way ahead. Not a single potato has shown a leaf above ground yet. Five years ago, I harvested my first potatoes on May 21.

I’ve not even sown any root vegetables yet. No point: Soil is still too cold. I may risk sowing some carrots tomorrow, but I’m not optimistic they will work. What a helluva winter it’s been.

The marvellous thing about being a gardener is that every year is different. Every year you see things you’ve not witnessed before. This is undoubtedly the latest spring I’ve ever seen, but records are there to be broken: £1,000 says I’ll see a colder and later one before I die.

Being a gardener also helps you understand the concept of ‘average’. You see with your own eyes, every year, that the seasons are wildly different. So many folks think ‘average’ means ‘normal’. There is no such thing as ‘normal’. There are only anomalies – sometimes extreme ones – that cancel each other out into a mean when you do the maths.

This year, we’re merely seeing the kind of weather that stops my May 21 potato harvest being ‘normal’.

Posted on 27th April 2013
Under: Winter | 2 Comments »