Breaking Records Isn’t Always a Good Thing

By Cam Mather

I’m in “August Heatwave Mode” in the garden right now. I get up at 5:30 am and work in the garden until about 10 am, at which time it is too hot to work out there.

The normal average temperature in Ontario where I live in May is about 19°C (66°F). On Monday it was 29°C in the shade. Yesterday it was 31.5°C (90°F). Today it’s supposed to be even hotter which means it’ll probably be about 34°C (93°F) and I’ll be frying eggs on the sidewalk.

With the humidex it feels like 40°C (104°F). Holy crap Batman, this is way too hot for May! It’s too hot for August in this part of the world. This is Canada, you know, home of frost-bitten Canadian boys, ice hockey and 8 months of snow.

This really sucks because this is the time of the year when the garden usually has a high moisture content from the rain. I love planting seeds in moist soil. My sandy soil makes the garden look more like the setting for “Lawrence of Arabia. I’ve begun using my drip irrigation system about 6 week ahead of schedule.

Here’s a record you don’t want to see broken. April temperatures soared to the highest ever as the month became the warmest in the planet’s recorded history. This is according  to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The report also showed that combined global land and ocean surface temperatures were the warmest from January to April, 2010. According to the report, “The average temperature for the first four months of year 2010 was 13.3 degrees Celsius which is 0.69 degrees above the 20th century average.”

The warmth is most pronounced in the equatorial portions of the major oceans, especially the Atlantic. This is what the climate models predicted. It will be worst around the equator, as if it’s not hot enough there already. If you take a globe and spin it you’ll find most of the deserts are centered on the equator… many started there and are spreading outward.

I am amused when I hear weather forecasters predicting a great weekend of hot weather. You can tell that they live and work in air conditioning and don’t grow their own food. Working outside in this heat is brutal. Growing food in this heat is a real struggle.

I’ve doubled the capacity of my drip irrigation system this year. Looks like it’s not going to be enough.

2 Responses to “Breaking Records Isn’t Always a Good Thing”

  • Great plan! Unfortunately we seem to swing back and forth between hot and dry summers to wet and cool ones…. without any indication as to which one to prepare for. After a particularly hot and dry year I jokingly threatened to plant cacti in the flower gardens. I was glad that I didn’t because the following summer was wet and cool!

  • Diane Bryden:

    Sorry to hear about your unusually hot weather. We’re getting unusually wet weather for Sacramento. As the climate changes, we seem to need to be prepared for all types of weather conditions… too much rain, no rain, etc. I am making smaller garden plots and vertically layering plants to shade plants and keep moisture in the soil more efficiently. Just pretend you now live in Mexico.

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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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