In 1792, the first year of George Washington’s presidency, Robert B. Thomas created the very first Farmers’ Almanac, which was used to help struggling farmers improve their agricultural production yields as well as other things.
While most farmers today rely on modern technology, some pick up a copy as a reference and scheduling guide for their annual agricultural duties. Landowners with an interest in growing highly productive food plots should pick up a copy each year before planting the first seed.
The Farmers’ Almanac has been widely used for centuries to predict the weather, provide a planting guide, and of course, to provide interesting features about history, food, and fun. It continues to reign as North America’s oldest continuously published periodical, and its editors to this day promote its 80- to 85-percent accuracy on weather forecasts.
The mathematical formula remains under lock and key, but the Almanac’s predictions take into account moon phases, tidal action, sunspot activity, proximity to water and astrological data. While many people are often skeptical of such claims, the 2014 winter forecast fell awfully close to the mark.
The Farmers’ Almanac is full of data and some anecdotal information, but the best uses for landowners with an interest in wildlife will benefit from planting dates for specific seeds. It uses expected soil temperature, altitude, day length, moon phase and other factors in addition to the location for the planting activities expected to occur. Landowners should always take into account the specific locations of plantings for determining the best time to put the crops in the ground.
Additionally, above-ground crops and below-ground crops will have different planting dates and times. The type of crop to be planted is a very important aspect to the planting-prediction formula as well. The Almanac provides a laundry list of crop types with specific planting dates as well.
Beyond planting dates, the Almanac provides specific dates that can be useful to landowners to harvest crops, prune trees, cut hay (or mow food plots), spray herbicides on weeds and when to begin logging activities.
While these specific dates seem to be based more on folklore over science, both old timers and some of today’s modern farmers will always review guidelines before investing a substantial effort into a farming task.
The Farmers’ Almanac can be purchased just about anywhere, from local big-box stores to just about any bookstore in North America. In addition, an on-line version is available at www.almanac.com that can be customized to geographical locations.