This El Nino winter is the warmest I remember in south-western Ontario. We had snow early in October, and it seemed that we were in for a long winter. We had another cold spell at the beginning of December and now it looks as though spring is arriving. I was surprised today to see pussy willows around the hospital. I usually look for them about mid-March. When I got home, I inspected the garden to see what was growing and found.... a dandelion in the green grass. In fact I found several, including some that had gone to seed.I let some of my leaf lettuce go to seed every year, and it comes up in the spring on its own. This particular lettuce is very sweet and tasty. I have never had a crop in January but will be able to pick some in a few days.The earliest I have had rhubarb is the 15th of March. Most years, the rhubarb is not up until the middle of April. The rhubarb in the garden is pushing up out of the ground now.Our soil is poor and sandy. When we water the garden in the summer, the moisture is drawn from the surface very quickly. We have put a lot of topsoil down over the years, but it sinks below the sand as well. So I have planted a lot of native species and succulents including several varieties of sedum. They thrive in the dry soil, but they don't start growing in January.
I do not know how this weather will affect farmers, particularly fruit farmers. Grapes for ice wine are usually harvested in the coldest January weather, and the grapes cannot be used unless they are frozen on the vines. If fruit blossoms open too early, they are very susceptible to frost.
Several local golf courses are open and I saw a few joggers in shorts today. Mind you, it was only 5C (about 40F) today, a little cold for shorts, but Canadians are a hardy bunch. We are experiencing a west coast winter, while the west coast is getting many winter storms.
I am sure we will get some more snow soon. I just hope it doesn't start in April in this year of mixed up seasons.