I'm pretty sure the winter of 2011-2012 was the warmest on record. The average temperature was well above normal, the number of days below freezing was well below normal, and we didn't even try to go up to West Virginia for our annual snowboard trip because they didn't have a winter up there either. I got to till the garden early this year thanks to global warming, and Lauren and I sowed the spring seeds early in January this year:
* Our spinach crop was outstanding. We ate spinach salads for a month and froze about 8 baggies for later.
* The beets were underachievers. I mentioned it in the beet entry, but we only have about 20 beets this year.
* The lettuce was more sparse than usual.
* The peas seem exactly the same as last year.
* We planted 1/2 the tomato plants early and they are growing like gangbusters.
* etc. The roses were fantastic this year, we have an 8 foot tall sunflower plant in the pit now- its the beginning of May, the fleas and mosquitos are already getting on my nerves.
In conclusion: The spring crops still matured at about the same time, and I can't really say they were any better off because of the early start. Watering intervals could have had an impact on lettuce and beet success, but why did the spinach do so well? The tomatoes that we started early are already several feet tall, covered with blossoms, and some have some little green baby tomatoes forming. I think the insects could end up being the story of the summer though.