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The Old Farmer's Almanac

It's the time of year when sales for the Farmer's Almanac or publications like it, spike and everyone gets one to give to their gardner, partner or loved one. But should they?

This is my personal Blog, and is not a news story nor the opinion of the station, my family nor anyone else!

It's that time of year when I routinely get a gift from my wife of "The Old Farmer's Almanac".  And every year it catches me off-guard.

I never use it.

Well, that's not really true.  I do use it as a  handy reference for solar and lunar eclipse dates, meteor shower schedules and last frost dates.  These things are extremely regular and a matter of scientific fact, with mathematical precision behind them.

What I don't use is the weather forecasts. Pure bogus hogwash.  And I say that in the nicest way possible.

Is it any wonder that many people keep their copy of the Farmer's Almanac in their bathroom? It sat on my in-law's toilet tank for years and years, for a little "light reading."

I know there are some people who religiously regard it as the authority in weather forecasting, and they remember that ONE time back about 35 years ago when it was right for a change. "Yeah, the Farmer's Almanac predicted that one storm right on the button," they proclaim.  But there really is no way to verify such a claim.  It's fallible human memory that rules here.

The publishers claim that they have an old family recipe or formula that helps them accurately predict the weather, and hence, the planting season and dates.  They guard this almost as closely as KFC has a family recipe or the Boston Baked Beans recipe.

But the fact of the matter is that planting is a function of the calendar, and the calendar and climatology records tell us what the odds are of a final frost occurring in late April vs. late May. If you check out the table of records (and I do) you'll see that our average date of the last freeze is April 25th or so, and the record book shows the latest one on record is May 20th.

So every year, if you start your plants indoors in a greenhouse to get a jump on the season, you may or may not be too early, and your set-out date may be at risk.  Every year, my wife starts this process and ignores the dates the book that she's bought for me.

I can't tell you how many people ask me, "Do you buy the Farmer's Almanac?"  And I always tell them the same thing.

No, I never do.  'Cause I'm not the one who does.

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