Miserable Late May Weather

haramachiMay 24, 2010

Just saw the forecast for the Seattle area, and another cold trough is heading in -- so at least five more days of highs barely reaching 60. Depressing.

Anyone else's tomatoes about to give up the ghost? Mine are so unhappy I can't bear to look at them. I actually feel guilty for what I'm putting them through.

I am going to seriously consider pushing my entire seed starting operation back by three or four weeks next year. June 1 planting target.

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sedum_gal(z8, Seattle)

I just bought my tomatoes yesterday, and will be getting them in the ground today. I may tack a piece of visqueen onto the wall above them, giving them a makeshift greenhouse for the next couple weeks or until the weather warms up a bit...
The forecast for the next week shows night temps right at 50, so I think they'll be OK.
Take heart, haramachi---I'm betting your tomatoes rebound when the weather warms, and have a good season after all...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 3:01PM
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hallerlake

I don't bother planting heat lovers until June in any case. They won't do anything until the ground warms up. I do wish it would warm up a little. Nights in the forties are for the birds

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 3:25PM
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plantknitter(8)

For the last 116 years,the last week of May has been the rainiest week of the summer (beginning of May to beginning of October)

Here is a link that might be useful: odds it will rain chart

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 4:56PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Summer in the lowland western WA climate starts the second week of July. Spring is February to July. At one time the decades-long outlook called for colder, darker springs and hotter summers. Rising average temperatures are still predicted. Meanwhile, a transition to weather more like that of the Willamette Valley would still be part of the normal variations that have occurred here for centuries.

Tomato plants, basil, peppers etc. are tropical plants needing blazing heat to perform fully. Most stock of such plants offered here appears too early for optimal results, yellowish growing tips indicating a chilled condition are frequently seen. According to WSU such plants will be affected the rest of the growing season, and not in a good way. They used to recommend waiting until the first week of June before setting out tomato plants (maybe they still do).

A friend grows warm season vegetables under cover much of the season. In addition to the need for heat tomato plants are subject to late blight if exposed to the open sky later in summer.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:56PM
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larry_gene

Having Willamette Valley weather can offer no improvement to your spring this year, I would suggest Redding CA.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 12:27AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

According to our weathermen, many days this May have been 5 degrees C less than average during the day and 3 degrees below avg at night time. This past long weekend is traditionally the time to plant gardens in Canada but it is still too cold to put out beans, squash and tomatoes. I, for one, am ready to enjoy some hot weather!!!!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 12:24PM
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gial

This weather is very depressing for a newbie gardener :(

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 1:19PM
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hallerlake

At least we got some rain. I was beginning to be afraid that we were in a June pattern of clouds, but no rain already. I see no point to clouds that don't rain.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 3:23PM
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tastytravels(8)

UGH! I hear ya! All this rain is drowning all the veggie starters I planted. Most of my cucumbers have totally bit the dust. One of my squash is also a goner.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 1:54AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

But why are the weeds prospering!? One plus for me is that I have never grown such good spinach. Absolutely tasty, wonderful crinkly leaves -- usually my spinach is spindly and then bolts.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 11:51AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I'm hating this much rain.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:04PM
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thesecretofjoy

Eh. On the one hand, my feet have been freezing for months. On the other hand, the beet seeds I sowed are staying nice and moist without me standing over them all day with a mister.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 11:15PM
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briergardener_gw

haramachi,
get some empty jars from some juice or milk (1 gallon size), fill them with water and place around your tomatoes.
If you have row cover, cover tomatoes together with jars.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 12:13AM
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yaslan(8 WA state)

gial - I agree 100%! I too am a Newbie gardener and finds this weather to be extremely depressing. My tropicals are waiting its turn to shine in the sun!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 1:55AM
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plantknitter(8)

Seattle (SeaTac) is on track for latest in the year to reach 75 Degrees.
We are in the top 5 now.

Here is a link that might be useful: 75 degrees?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 2:18AM
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larry_gene

Latest PDX 80 is 9 June, that record could fall. Warmest to date is 76.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 1:56AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I'm lovin' this rain and cool temps. I grow ornamentals and not veggies so this lack of heat and plenty of water is real good for me. I have as thick of a mulch of wood chips as I dare with ground covers and this water is really soaking in, rather than running off and making the ponds muddy. They are real clear now even with all this rain.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yesterday

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 4:37PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yep: work with the environment rather than fight it.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 10:49PM
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larry_gene

But one cannot live on lettuce and rhubarb alone.

To date: 4th wettest PDX May in 70 years.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 12:45AM
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estreya

According to my photographs, last year's veggie beds were further along by now, even though i planted later last year. It's disappointing when nothing seems to be growing (except the weeds) ... the deer are plump and seem happy.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 12:47PM
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knotz(8/PNW SWWA)

I usually don't start my corn in the greenhouse, but this year I'm getting tired of waiting, so in little pots they go.

This is terrible...Yep, I'm whining too.

Down here in SW WA, it's almost as bad as up north.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

10 day outlook calls for continuing showers.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 1:35PM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

Yeah it's like the weather decided to say "I liked March so much I have decided to stay stuck in that March pattern until I am forced to change...in July!" Everytime I walk past my pepper and eggplant boxes they just roll their eyes at me and shiver. C'mon summer like weather!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 4:45PM
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ian_wa(Sequim)

On this date last year, Sequim got up to 99 degrees, and our lawn was already browned to a crisp.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 10:15AM
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gardinator

One Word -- Greenhouse

My tomatoes are over 5 ft high in the greenhouse and completely healthy, and summer squash is starting to make efforts at fruit. I planted them beginning of May. For 4 years after moving here I tried growing outside and faced what everyone's talking about. The next year I built a 20' x 8' greenhouse out of arched hog fencing and Farmtek film remnants (total greenhouse cost about $150) and was so impressed by the difference that the next year (last year) I built a 45 x 25. The floor of the greenhouse is landscape fabric covered with crushed stone from which I cut out raised beds, so I don't have to deal with weeds. I can't recommend a greenhouse enough. If you're going to put the effort into the garden, why not expend a little bit more and have a garden where you can control water and temperature? It's really worth it.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 8:08PM
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larry_gene

Well, this spring has a lot of people wishing they had a greenhouse setup.

May PDX ended up 3rd wettest in 70 years. June has started off even wetter. Predicted 80 for Tuesday has been withdrawn by forecasters, latest 80-in-year record will likely fall.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 12:41AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Sun's out!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 12:51PM
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larry_gene

Yes, and on my run there was gardening activity on every city block. 78° at the house threatened to break the late 80 record.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 11:38PM
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plantknitter(8)

First there is no sun, then there is, then there is no sun........just the mud and slugs again.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 10:56AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

It's raining here on the coast this morning, and a balmy 55F....

I'm remembering this week a year ago - We went to my nephews college graduation in close to 100F temps, and that was Seattle, not E Wash :)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 11:28AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Rain's out!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 12:14PM
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tastytravels(8)

I hope everyone enjoyed the sunshine yesterday. I got a few plants planted (mostly tomatoes and beans). Today....rain.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 1:38PM
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Patrick888(z8 SeaTac WA)

It will be bad enough if this is one of those Junes that are mostly wet & cool & we're still heating our homes on July 4th (my contention is that July 4th is the last day of Winter!)...but I sure hope it's not going to be one of those rare years when we pretty much have no summer at all.

I've had my brugmansia plants outside for about 7 weeks and most have barely broken dormancy. But, oh yes, the weeds are thriving!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 2:45PM
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larry_gene

PDX June now over 2" rain, greater than monthly June average.

The Styrax tree, nearing full bloom, looks like a weeping willow.

KGW TV forcaster may not show his face tonight, he predicted 0.1" widely scattered showers.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 11:36PM
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tastytravels(8)

One good thing about all this rain. I haven't had to turn my sprinklers on all year! My waterbill is happy! =0)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 11:40PM
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plantknitter(8)

The weather service has nerve calling this a WEAK convergence zone!
It's POURING out.
This is my last day off to get ready for the NPA tour coming to my garden next weekend. Can barely walk out there, my normally well drained soil is maxed out. Feels like a lake in my lawn and paths. Guess I need even more wood chips.
Whine, whine, whine.......

Summer, I call your name.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:13AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Plantknitter, I went on a garden tour in our area yesterday, in the rain of course, but it was still lovely to see such beautiful gardens. I for one truly appreciate the extra work people go to, to make their garden extra special for these tours. It's a wonderful thing when people open their gardens and invite people to come and look. Thanks to you for doing this. I wish I lived closer so I could come and view.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:45AM
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plantknitter(8)

Dotty, you're so sweet, thank you for the support. I do wish you could come by.
I'm getting a raincoat on now to go get some slugs.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 12:34PM
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plantslayer(8)

My tomatoes are doing very well as they had been in a tunnel since late April until yesterday. I feel bad about my winter squash and cucumbers, which I have not planted yet, though... I am afraid it might be a bit late for the squash, but I guess I shall plant anyway and hope they can ripen in time.

They are smaller squash, like 4 lbs or so. I started them inside, and they will go in the ground this weekend at the latest (they will still be very young when that happens, so should be OK). DId I drop the ball on these?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 2:15PM
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vivapdx(8)

plantslayer - I started my cukes/squash in pots this year too, but waaaaayyy too early. I was predicting an early spring... boy was I wrong! I re-potted and tried to baby them along, but they just looked ill. I tossed them in the compost and planted seeds last week. It's a toss up here in pdx, whether the summer will be long enough/hot enough/dry enough to get a harvest. I'm trying new cantalope, pumpkin, tigger and acorn varieties this year, all early/small types. I had good luck seeding lemon cukes, scalloped squash and yellow crook last year.
Good luck with yours!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 2:39PM
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tastytravels(8)

I also started squash and cucumbers indoors early. The cucumbers all drowned except for 2 green japanese cucumbers. Hopefully they'll be okay but they look shocked. Just as a precaution, I re-seeded them in the same spots. 1 of 2 pattypan squash died also but I re=seeded that one too. Everything else has survived thus far but I'm not sure how much more they can take!!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 5:50PM
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plainolebill(z8 OR)

This year we decided to try okra. Bwahaha, bad timing. Tomatoes set out May 22nd are ok, some cukes just popped up today. Half the green beans are up and we reseeded more today. It is depressing and the worst part is the sun/heat we don't get won't get caught up later. Well our garlic looks healthy and we had plenty of kale and upland cress over the winter so we're grateful for that.

Bill - Corvallis

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:01PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Interesting that this old thread popped up and the whining about the cold spring in 2010 is the same as this year!
Maybe this is the new "normal".

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 3:39PM
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Bo Svenson(z8 PNW)

Are the earlier posts really from 2010? We did have a cool, wet spring in 2010 but it was nowhere near this year's record-breaker. At least in WA - I notice many of the previous commenters are from Oregon.

I just replanted (direct seeding) most of my cool weather crops (cole crops, greens, etc.), some for the 2nd time after the previous sowings either partially or completely failed to germinate. Even the peas sulked and barely grew for most of May. I've never seen anything like that in the 10+ years I've been actively farming & gardening.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 7:43PM
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oliveoyl3

Won't everything just be a bit late & catch up once temps warm up? As usual the heat lovers tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers & corn will need to be early varieties to get a good harvest before the cool nights begin again in early fall.

I still hope to have a productive vegetable garden just a bit slower growing I guess even in our raised beds. With our frequent rains I've only watered a few times & even carrots germinated okay. Maybe even better than last year's carrots. Our spring salads had small leaves until around May 20th when finally larger than my hand.

Not that I want vegetables to bloom, but I don't mind really because the sunny yellow Red Russian kale & chinese cabbages complemented the lavender chives.

I did cut back the chinese cabbages & fed to the chickens, so they wouldn't cross with the kale I like to let self sow 2x a year. It's not the cook's secret anymore as everyone here figured it out where the kale went even though I chopped fine in stir fries or used the baby leaves in mixed green salads. Now they even add it to their cooking as well because it's simply easier to walk to the garden with a scissor & a basket than drive to the store for green vegetables. Plus, it's free & we know it's safe to eat. The chinese cabbages attracted the slugs away from the lettuces, so I think it was still worth it to plant them even if they became chicken food.

I prefer more sunshine, but tolerate the rain as long as it warms up a bit to make working outside more comfortable. I can enjoy the gardens more when I can actually be in them rather than inside looking out.

Beans, cucumbers, & zucchini are going to be late planted this year, but hopefully will catch up rather than be stunted or rot like last year. I could figure out how to keep the tomatoes & peppers in the greenhouse all summer instead. I had hoped to plant some sugar pumpkins just for fun, but I can always purchase them instead for fall pumpkin pies, cakes, & muffins.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 12:41AM
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