29 here this morning

elkwc(6b)May 3, 2013

Better than the low to mid 20's one forecaster on the radio was saying yesterday afternoon. And several chances of rain over the next week although not real high. Looks like this weekend will be the time to start putting plants out. The lows will still be in the mid 40's so I will give anything I set out some protection. I looked at the long range forecasts on two different sites and neither showed a low below the mid 40's after Saturday night. I will listen to the Day weather forecast this morning to just confirm what the others are saying. Jay

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It hit 33 degrees here, but a few miles away at our Mesonet station it went down to 28 degrees. Since the thermometer registered 33 at 5' above ground, I would imagine it might have made it down to 32 or lower at the ground level, but everything that would have been hurt by freezing temps is covered up. I can see a few little areas of patchy frost out in the yard but likely it isn't heavy enough to really hurt anything.

I'll be sowing bean seed and cucumber seed into the ground today. Our 3-day average soil temps are still in the 70s, but I bet the soil is a lot colder than that this morning.

I hope this is the last time we have to worry about freezing or sub-freezing temperatures this spring.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 8:06AM
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Got down to 32 here. There was patchy frost around the yard just like Dawn said. Before I came to work, I took the 5-gallon buckets off the tomato plants I planted last weekend. They had been covered up since Wednesday early evening. They looked great!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 8:58AM
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The nearest mesonet station indicated a temp. of 32 degrees. My thermometer read higher, but it is somewhat untrustworthy. (Note to self: Get new thermometer.) But, just to be on the safe side I got out about 5:45 and started spraying everything down with water.

I have a goodly number of my peppers covered up, but not all. (I have probably around 250 pepper plants.) All of the tomatoes (around 250) and potatoes have no cover whatsoever. So I battled the cold with water.

It appears that I squeezed by again and pretty much everything will survive. I'll be able to tell more later today. I live on a ridge with a fairly steep drop in elevation on both sides, and this has saved my bacon several times this spring.

Hopefully tomorrow morning will be the last time to get up and spray everything with water. It is getting old, and I'm tired of worrying about cold temps.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:41AM
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faerybutterflye(7B OK)

Our mesonet station read 34 this morning, but my thermometer read 31. I'm not 100% sure where the meso station is, but living down in the valley, it seems like my thermometer always reads a few degrees colder than the station. I carried all my containers of flowers into my carport room for some shelter from the wind & temps last night. There was no frost here, but I noticed yesterday during the cold rain that some of my outside seedlings were looking pretty damaged & rough. Hopefully this didn't kill them all. As soon as the sun came up, it warmed quickly, though. We're already up to 50 according to my thermometer :) It's crazy how quickly this cold snap made the soil temps drop though. I checked my soil temps the other day & they were around 70. Only 50 this morning!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Lots of wind and lingering clouds here on SE side of Tulsa so we bottomed out about 35.

Time to plant!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 10:50AM
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I was up late and only saw rain, but DH said he saw a few flakes of snow when he took the dog out. My friend who lives near the Mesonet site posted around midnight that she was getting snow, so I know it was very close to us, and I think just across town. We stayed above freezing and with the light rain also avoided frost. In fact, our lawn needs to be mowed again. I am leaving everything covered until Saturday, and the ones with row cover will probably be left covered for another week. I don't see any damage at all in my neighborhood, but I haven't uncovered the tomato plants to check them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:46PM
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Here in NE rural Norman, I had the same low as Jay. 28 at 7 AM. AND a heavy frost. After a tour of our 2 and a half acres this evening....the damage was less than expected. The frost was heavy so I expected much worse. Of course, the real story will unveil as the season goes on....

I already know I've lost 2 of my 6 blueberries...but I'm just gonna stick my tongue out at Mother Nature. I'm planting everything this weekend. The Whole Garden. I've got frost blankets and extra buckets is needed...but I'm tired of waiting. Onward thru the Fog!!!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 8:16PM
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We did not have frost or freeze, but it has cleared off now and the wind is not blowing, so I fixed the hay back on my potatoes. It feels much warmer out but with the weather being clear and still I dont know what will happen in this hole I live in. We have one more night that may be a problem. I will try to plant Sat. or Sun.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I think I am waiting until Sunday afternoon to plant, especially if we go lower than forecast tonight. Last night we had clouds most of the night but the skies are mostly clear tonight so we might get colder than the 40 degrees that is forecast. Our low for tomorrow night is forecast to be 43 and I don't want to put peppers in the ground until that cold night has come and gone.

It'll take me half the day tomorrow to removed all the floating row cover and put all that stuff back up in the garage, so it is a good thing I'm not planning on planting until Sunday.

Our 28 degree low is a all-time record low for Marietta for the month of May. Let's hope it is a record that never gets broken.

I spent today potting up warm-season herbs and flowers from a starter flat to individual cups. It is something I've needed to do for a while but I was too busy. With all the beds covered up so I couldn't plant or weed, today was a great day to pot up and it was a beautiful day outside once the air temps warmed up a bit.

Today we were Hummingbird Central with as many as 6 hummers at one feeder at a time, and we have 6 feeders up. I still need to put up 2 more in the big garden, but the honeysuckle is in bloom there now and they'd rather have it. The most popular feeder early this morning was the one on the east side of the house because it was inf full sun while the others were in partial shade.

I hope this is the last of this sort of weather. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time covering and uncovering stuff this spring....but it was worth it because the whole garden is still alive and has had almost no frost damage at all, except for a little on a few potato plants.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Dawn this spell was a lot milder here than they predicted. It is just under 35 this morning and they had been predicting low 30's again. We had ice on the pet bowls and a little frost one morning. Otherwise no frost or ice on anything. I won't put out any tomatoes till tomorrow. After Sunday night all lows are in the mid 40's are higher except for one forecast that has next Saturday night at 40. I will put buckets around those I set out and if necessary cover them if it looks like it will drop below the mid 40's. They have started a Farmers Market page on FB for Elkhart. I joined last night. Several coworkers had been telling me about it. Everyone is having the same issues with the weather. The more experienced gardeners have waited and the less have learned. As I'm sure you know about me by now I don't set out peppers till memorial day week. I plant okra the same time. This has always worked for me. I'm going to try to start some sweet potato slips this weekend. I thought that maybe this year would of been the year for WOW's but then with the several plus 90 days I'm sure I would of cooked the bottoms again like last year. If gardening wasn't such a challenge I'm sure I wouldn't be doing it. Jay

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:56AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Jay, In our area, this morning was significantly lower than forecast. The forecast was for 39, we went to 33 and our Mesonet station went to 29. We have very heavy frost here this morning and it is more widespread than yesterday's patchy frost.

They have lowered our forecast lows for tonight and tomorrow night by 3-5 degrees each. In light of the fact that we have gone significantly lower than forecast the last two nights, I am uneasy about the next two nights too and likely will leave everything covered.

That's so cool about the Farmer's Market in Elkhart.

I like to get my pepper plants in the ground in early May. It isn't so important for the hot peppers as they'll set fruit most all summer anyway, but with the sweet peppers, I need them in early enough to set fruit before the temperatures start causing blossom drop. We get so hot so early here that I always feel like I'm in a race to get fruit set before the hot temperatures start impeding fruit set on sensitive plants.

Last week at the nurseries and garden centers all sorts of plants that do not tolerate frost were flying off the shelves---stuff like New Guinea impatiens and mandeville. I commented to Tim that I hoped those people were going to either hold those plants indoors another week or two or at least were going to cover them up. I did hear employees at one Lowe's advising someone not to put those plants in the ground for another week unless they could cover them up to protect them from frost or freezing weather. The seed racks now have lots of empty areas and the outdoor displays of 6-pack annuals were almost bare. If everyone put that stuff in the ground last week after buying it, they may be regretting planting that stuff after the cold temperatures and frost we've had the last two nights.

The hot days always are more the issue for me with stuff like WOWs, and also are a reason I prefer floating row cover to covering plants with buckets since the row cover allows for good airflow and you don't have to worry about heat buildup if you leave plants covered for multiple days. A lot of people here didn't plant many cool-season crops this year--maybe onions and potatoes--and that is unfortunate because we are having a terrific cool season crop here.

I expected a long, cool spring so planted enormous amounts of cool-season crops. The only warm-season crop in the big garden is tomatoes, and then I have corn in the corn cage across the driveway from the big garden and in one of the new garden plots out back. That corn out back was seeded on Sunday and is sprouting under the floating row cover. I've never had this many cool season plants in the ground before. They fill up most of the big garden and they fill up the two beds left in the old Peter Rabbit garden next to my garden shed. While I didn't expect it to stay so cold so late, other than the fact that it is annoying to have to cover up the plants, I kind of like this weather merely because it has kept the cool-season crops growing so very well.

I enjoy the challenges that come with gardening in our erratic climate. It certainly teaches a gardener to develop a deeper understanding of their weather and how to deal with its ups and downs. I always tell my friends here in our county that if edible gardening was easy, everyone would do it....and everyone certainly does not. I always thought I was a good enough gardener when I lived in Fort Worth, but living here has made me a much better gardener, and some of the lessons learned have been painful ones. Experience is a great teacher, but can be a cruel one as well.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:16AM
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faerybutterflye - If you go to the Mesonet map in the link below, then click on your county, it will show you the location of you station.

Here is a link that might be useful: Station Map

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:25PM
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faerybutterflye(7B OK)

Thanks for the link. No wonder I am getting different, lower readings from my at home thermometer. It's 6 miles north of us, at a higher elevation.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

That's why we have a thermometer outdoors. Actually we have 5 of them scattered around the property. We have tried to post them at 5' above ground and in the shade. Sometimes our readings are about the same as our Mesonet station's and sometimes they are not even close. Sometimes our own thermometers don't even show the same temperatures even though each of them is about 30' from the next closest thermometer.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:40AM
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I have one area on the NW corner of my garden that many times will get heavy freeze damage in the fall and 70 ft away on the east end the plants will look fine. I blame in on several factors. That end is closest to some large trees which I feel block air movement when winds are from the west and north. Also just to the north is a low depression. Which I fill must fill up with cooler air. So like Dawn stated you can put thermometers around your property and you will notice a difference. This morning the station 4 miles NW of me showed 32 degrees for 20 minutes around. I wasn't up at 4 am to check but when I checked at 6 it was 37 here. So feel we may be clear now. I will start putting some plants in the ground today. I use white plastic buckets filled with straw. The plants do well and this also keeps them from getting to hot on the 90 degree days. If needed I will cover the plants with straw on nights it might get close to freezing. But hopefully this is behind us. Jay

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:41AM
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I couldn't sleep last night so turned on my computer just after 3AM. The only part of the State that was below freezing was about 2/3 of the panhandle, and a tiny little spot on the east side of Oklahoma that was right on top of us which was showing 31. WHAT? That wasn't supposed to happen. I still had most things covered, but I was out at 3:20 this morning throwing sheets over a onion bed. It wasn't freezing in my yard and that was probably because of my location near the lake.

I'm going to put the bottles back over my tomato plants tonight because it is still in the 40's tonight for us. Hopefully I can put more tomato plants in the ground tomorrow. It is supposed to be mostly cloudy so that sounds like a good time. I will have to be careful how I handle them tho because they have been inside for a few days now. I will probably move a low tunnel from the potatoes to cover newly planted tomatoes for a few days.

So far my only problem was one branch on one small tomato plant. The water bottles have a handle that is in-set into the bottle, and I let that part of the bottle touch the plant without noticing. I couldn't tell if it was cold damage or heat damage, but it was close to the ground and probably would have been removed later on anyway.

The other stuff could be uncovered, but since they still get enough sun through row cover, I'm just going to leave it on tonight. We just came home from Baker Creek and I am tired.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:05PM
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We hit 32 on Sunday morning for 5 minutes. And although it was supposed to be 45 this morning I'm showing 40 here but not far from me is showing 33. I have everything ready to drop plants in tonight. So over the next few days plants and then seeds will start going into firm soil. I have been waiting 3 weeks for the drip tape and accessories with "next day" shipping I ordered part of it for the new (my first ) raised bed I finished this spring. I ended up using two only pieces of tape and started soaking it last evening. With the drought we have had I'm doing a long presoak. I will plant it late to mid week. Jay

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 6:37AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It is 38 degrees here this morning and I am not an especially happy camper because I uncovered everything yesterday (finally) and left it uncovered last night. Our forecast low for this morning had fluctuated between 44 and 47 degrees for two days, and when I last checked it Sunday evening, it showed 47 degrees. I did expect it to drop lower than 47 but I was thinking it would be more like 40 or 42, not 38.

I haven't gone outside yet to check for frost. I kinda don't even want to look for fear I'll find some. Might as well delay the bad news a little longer.

Jay, I'm putting peppers in the ground today since our soil temps are good and our 7-day forecast looks the best now that it has looked in some time.

I hate ordering anything for spring gardening in the spring because shipping always takes so long at the beginning of the planting season. (This is why I try to order all my seeds in fall and early winter.) When it became apparent to me several weeks ago that the cold was going to hang on more deeply into spring than usual, I ordered a roll of 10-degree floating row cover. I really did not have high hopes it would arrive before the next cold front, and I was expecting to make some tough choices about which rows would get covered as, by that time, I had far more rows of plants than row cover.

I didn't even pay for faster shipping because i thought that even with express shipping, it would take too long to arrive so spending money for express shipping wasn't worth it. I think that I ordered the row cover on a Thursday, received a shipping notification on Friday evening and had the row cover in my hands early the next week about 2 days in advance of the next cold spell. I was so relieved that it arrived so quickly. It is nice to know that at least one garden supply company still manages to ship quickly in Spring. Even with that new roll, I had to cover up the corn and a couple of other rows with bedsheets and blankets. Had I been smarter, I'd have ordered 2 rolls instead of 1. It saved my garden on cold nights for the next 3 or 4 weeks.


I saw that y'all had dropped really low and was wondered if your plants still were covered. I remember thinking to myself that I didn't think your area was supposed to get so cold. This sure has been a difficult spring with all the repeated late cold fronts. I told Tim yesterday that "I'm done" covering up plants with row cover. Let's hope that leaving them uncovered last night wasn't a mistake.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon weeding the raised beds that had been underneath row cover since late Wednesday afternoon. Not only did the plants grow well under the row covers, but so did the weeds. I made a lot of progress on the weed removal but still have half the big garden to weed, and then the corn cage and new gardens after that. I spent a significant amount of time watering as well since the last few rains have mostly missed us. Our 4" Available Plant Water definitely looks awful on the mesonet maps. We haven't even put out the drip irrigation lines yet, but I am hoping to get that done this week or next. I like to wait for the last freezing temps to pass before laying out the drip tape. Except for planting quite a lot the next few days, weeding appears to be the main job for the rest of the week. I haven't mulched many beds yet, preferring to let the sunshine hit the ground and warm it up. Now that warmer temperatures have returned, I can start putting more mulch on the beds.

I hope the trip to BC was fun.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:16AM
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