This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
There are few more deceptive rules for practical men. Averages of the weather for March are illustrations. Every one interested in gardening knows that we have really had the coldest month ever known. But we must not believe this if we look at the figures of averages. Before us are some figures kept by Mr. Terwilliger, of Saratoga. Our month shows an average of 34¾°, while the 1880 March had but 32¼°, and 1879, 27°. But any nursery- man's record books in the Eastern States will show that the Marches of 1879 and 80 were very favorable to work, while in March 1881 he could hardly "stick in a spade." The thermometer may stand at 30° for six days, but if for one single hour on the seventh day the temperature rises to sixty, as it sometimes will, we are to declare that the thermometer was above freezing point all that week; at least there is 34¼º all in consequence of that solitary hour. Scientific conclusions, manifestly wrong, are founded often on "averages." A family with half a dozen boys, may have five doltish fellows and one extraordinarily quick. "On the average," it is a very smart family, but practically it is something else.