My planting gamble...

ReedBaizeFebruary 11, 2013

Appears to have nipped me. Snow and ice expected here in the next 24 hours. At least it's only radishes.

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

yeah I may have done the same. put out 100 onion transplants. Ill probably cover with a blanket and hope for the best. Friday looks the coldest for me. Low of 23 overnight.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:49PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Cover them. Don't you have some cardboard boxes and an old tarp or paint throw to put over them?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Well, I goofed also, onions can handle some cold but they may not be happy with the temps we get. I have set out about 300 plants.

I have mulch, plastic and tarps to use if I have to. I will watch the weather and act according to what is forecasted.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:42PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)


i could do that also. This is my first time trying this early so I dont know what would be good enough or not. They are cheap and only been in the ground a week or so. Probably could just pull them for a while actually.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:11PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

This is a good time to keep notes and see what they can take. I have clear plastic tubs over last year's lettuce. It has not been growing but it isn't dead.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:19PM
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Larry, I hope it doesn't kill your onions but with your ground as wet as it is, you may be in trouble. I think I would cover them and try to save them. I never put anything in the ground this early because I always seem to get some cold February weather. I think we dropped to 8 during the middle of Feb last year.

I mailed your pepper seeds this morning.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:45PM
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Keep us posted, guys, and I hope they do okay with some protection. Like Carol, I never plant anything this early in Oklahoma. Seems like, without fail, we always get nipped at least once in February, if not more. I remember when we had a foot of snow in Norman one year, in the last week of April. I don't expect that will happen, but I always err on the side of caution.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:04PM
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Susan, I just looked at a picture that I took on 9 Feb 2011 and the snow was up to the bottom of the lawn chair seats.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:23PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Reed, It happens. It used to happen to me fairly often and I stopped taking as many risks with cool-season plantings. After it happens pretty often, you find yourself gambling less and less. Our weather here can be so cruel.

Your plants might make it. Mulch 'em and throw a blanket over them. I've protected plants just by piling up mounds of autumn leaves over them. (I save bags of autumn leaves for just such occasions.)

The plants you have in the ground early are cold-hardy so they can tolerate a certain amount of cold weather and even snow. Ice would worry me a bit more, unless the snow fell first and insulated the plants from the ice that fell later.

I have nothing in the ground yet because I've been waiting for this week's cold spell to pass, and then I'll look at next week's weather and see if I like how it looks. If I do like the looks of it, I might plant onions before the end of the week. Then, after a few more days, I'll likely plant peas and potatoes. I'm eager to get started, but still watching the weather to see when it feels "safe" to plant.

The cold weather doesn't usually hurt any early plantings in February when I plant this waits and gets them in March or April after they are nice and big and it is getting too late to replace them with new plants and get a harvest before the heat sets in.

Larry, I would be more worried about cold temps in wet ground than in dry ground. I don't think I've ever lost onions in extreme cold if the ground was pretty dry, but I've lost them in cold weather when it was very wet. Darned old clay, you know....

Susan and Carol, I loved the 2011 snow storm. It was the most snow we've ever had here. Do y'all remember how we stayed really cold and snowy for 4 or 5 days and then had a huge warm up and never got really cold again?

At our house in Feb. 2011, this is what our high temperatures did during the period I'm talking about:

Feb 9th--29 degrees
Feb 10th--36 degrees (this was the tail end of about a week of cold and snow)
Feb 11th--59 degrees
Feb 12th--67 degrees
Feb 13th--74 degrees, and then this
Feb 17th--80 degrees!

For us, that was when winter pretty much ended. After all that snow, I was thrilled to see 80 degrees. While we still had occasional cool nights around freezing in March, and I had to throw row covers over a few things on a couple of nights, we then had a really warm, almost hot March, with some highs in the mid-80s. I loved March of 2011, especially after all that snow in February. I just had no idea that we were going into a hot, dry period that would knock us and our gardens to our knees....

This time, I don't think we're expected to do a quick warm-up after tomorrow's snow and ice, but wouldn't it be nice if we did?


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:02PM
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I don't think we are going to warm up much this week at all. A couple of days in low 50's, but generally 30's to 40's, with nighttime temps in 20's. Brrrrrrrr. It's hard to take after the warm weather we've been having!

Ya know, I think I've completely forgotten that snow storm in Feb. 2011. I do have selective recall, though.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:39PM
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I think we do have selective recall. Fortunately, we keep records - intermittently.

DH just reminded me that on March 3 2009, we had 4" of snow and low temp was 10.4F. One year later, on March 3, 2010, we had snow and temps of 30.4. Today, on Feb 11, we were a balmy 61 - but the forecast is for low 20s this weekend. Crazy crazy!

Seems like VA is becoming more like Oklahoma!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


We're so far south that the cold won't hit us quite as hard at it hits y'all. We're supposed to have a high of 59 degrees tomorrow, and in the last 2 or 3 forecasts, our chance of snow here, which was pretty slim to begin with, has really dropped. I don't mind that. We will be in the 50s most days and 20s or 30s most nights, but back in the 60s by Sunday. That's not bad for February.

It looks like parts of western and northwestern OK are gonna win the snow lottery as they are currently forecast to get 6-9".

Pam, I wonder if all the weather is going crazy. Who would think New England would have such a strong nor'easter and then a day or two later, Dixie Alley would have an F-4 tornado all while a new snowstorm was bearing down on OK? That's a lot of weather variation in less than a week's time.

All I know is that about the time I get used to whatever weather pattern we're in and think I have it figured out, it all changes and becomes a totally different pattern. I guess the weather likes to keep us guessing.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 12:07AM
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I don't think the city is going to get much, but you never really know. Weather can be so sneaky in Oklahoma, and Oklahoma weather can call the forecasters' bluffs all too often.

Pam, when I lived inland Massachusetts, the coast was always warmer than interior. The winter temps weren't that much different than winter temps in Oklahoma, lasted so much longer (forever, it seemed like) than the winter here. Our winters are downright short in comparison. Summers were wonderful. It was so strange that folks there were sweltering when it reached 80 degrees, which I thought was nice and balmy. I'd love to have an 80 degree day in August in Oklahoma! LOL!

Dawn, that's great that you won't get the snow, but are you expecting to get any precip out of this? I know you said that you guys sit in a valley of sorts, and wondered if it would be colder because of that.

Carol, I think it was 2010 and 2011 when we had those major snowstorms. Not fun, not fun at all.....


    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:28AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Susan, Our forecast changed drastically. They had us warm early in the day (up to 59 degrees) and now our high says 43 degrees, and in fact, we have been at 43 degrees all morning so I guess it isn't going to warm up much more, if any. They also had shown us with snow (around an inch) for days and days, then changed us to the "no to little snow" area yesterday, and now there is no mention of snow for us until the Thursday-Friday snowstorm, and it is a very slim (20%) chance. We're just too far south for most OK snow storms.

We're likely getting more precipitation than they originally said. We had lots of thunder and lightning in the early morning hours, and alternating periods of brief moderately heavy and mostly longer periods of really light rainfall. The rain gauge has almost an inch in it so far today, so I'm pretty happy. Originally we were in the half-inch to inch category, so it looks like we'll get more. When Chris was driving home from Dallas this morning he ran into rain falling so hard in the Gainesville-to-just-south-of Thackerville area that he had to slow down to 40 mph on the interstate because he said there was very poor visibility and traffic was just crawling. I wish we'd gotten that heavier rain here.

We aren't too terribly cold (as long as we stay indoors). We won't necessarily be colder than any other area during the day, but cold air sinks, so our creek hollow (virtually all of our property is a creek hollow that sits lower than the surrounding area on all sides) will drop colder at night. I think that is partly why the cold nights in late spring can make me crazy--Fred is less than a mile away on higher ground and he can plant warm-season crops 2-3 weeks earlier than I can and his won't get hit by a late frost or freeze while mine will.

I enjoyed those snowy years in 2010-11, but partly because they are fairly rare at our end of the state. Snow in December through February is a delight, I think, as long as we are able to stay home in it and not be out on the roadways. Snow in March or April when we ought to be planting is just an aggravation though. I've noticed that without fail it rains here in February right at onion and potato planting time. If I didn't have raised beds, I'd never get the onions or potatoes planted.

I do think that climate and weather is relative depending on what you're used to. When Tim's family and friends in Pennsylvania talk about it being really hot, that likely means their temps have risen up to the upper 80s . When they have drought, that means they haven't had rain for a week or two, and it rarely lasts much longer than that. To me, their summer is more like our spring weather, and they have nothing that compares to our summers (and I am sure they are glad!). We had friends in Texas who have moved there from Great Falls, Montana. When their children played summer baseball in Montana it was so chilly in the evenings that they played in long sleeves or sweatshirts. Brrr! They said that they had about a month of good summer weather, there but there was nothing on earth that had prepared them for a Texas summer.

Here where we live, we get colder in winter than we did in Fort Worth and also are often significantly hotter here in summer. It seems to me that we weren't paying enough attention to the climate when we chose this part of the state!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Don't worry about it, oklahoma gardening is always a gamble. If your plants get nipped you'll have the pleasure of trying again. That is one advantage of planting early, you have time to try again and if they don't freeze out you get early crops. After all, radish seeds are cheap.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:29AM
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