curiouser and curiouser

Pallida(Zone 7b)November 5, 2011

What a year!

Late frosts in Spring

Killing tornadoes

Unbelievable heat wave

Record breaking drought

Early freeze

Earthquakes (felt here in Southern OK)

What else? Propane tanks should probably be checked.

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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

We felt it in Broken Arrow, too. Actually I didn't feel it, but awakened to the sound of my floor lamp shaking.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 6:59AM
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I have been kicking around the idea of a gasoline or propane generator, but that is a lot of money to invest in something you hope to never need.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 9:27AM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Guess everyone in state felt the tremor a little bit. I too, have thought it would be nice to have a back-up generator, but they ARE expensive.....

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 10:59AM
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I bought one during the record setting blizzard 4-5 years ago. I use it too power things around here. So not something that just sets idle. I use it too power tools where I have no electricity and also to power the lights in my reefer trailer where I haven't ran electricity yet. So overall a good investment. Jay

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 11:21AM
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I was awake and sitting at my computer and I didn't feel it, but someone reported feeling it in Grove and even Springfield, Kansas City, and Joplin. I think that is odd that others felt it and I felt nothing because I am very motion sensitive, and have felt lots of quakes.

A generator is an important item to have here because we tend to lose power during ice storms. After living several days without power, we knew we had to buy one before the next storm, and did. Although you have to have them outside when in use, you need to have a safe inside location for storage because they are frequently stolen. My neighbor heard her trash can lid fall and ran to the door just as two guys finished loading something into the back of a vehicle and took off. When she walked out onto her porch, her BROKEN generator was gone.

Two people lost their life from running one in a garage a few years back, so make sure you know how deadly they can be if you use one.

We have plenty of ways to heat and cook in an emergency, but if you lose power for very long you are going to lose the food in your refrigerator and freezer and that can be expensive. If you can run a generator for only a couple of hours a day and not open your freezer, you can save your food.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 11:36AM
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Ah, an earthquake! We had one in 2001 I think it was, really shook the house. Strange thing was it made a boom like a sonic boom. Never figured out what the noise was. This was when we were living just north of the north boundary of Ft. Sill, just east of Medicine Park.
We felt an earthquake here in AZ about a year or two ago that had it's epicenter in Tijijuana!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 11:53AM
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If you ever get a chance to take a fun road trip, the restaurant in Meers has a richter scale, primarily because it is built on the Meers fault line. Plus, they serve wonderful Meers burgers and BBQ from their own grass raised longhorns.
The restaurant has been there since like 1918.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 11:57AM
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We didn't feel it here. Haven't talked to any of the neighbors yet to see if they felt it. It was felt a couple of miles away.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 3:36PM
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OMG Meers. Their burgers are okay and the wait is atrocious, but that homemade ice cream and cherry cobbler is to die for. It's the perfect way to get back all those burned calories from hiking in the Wichitas. :p

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 5:14PM
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cjlambert(6b Tulsa)

We were waked up by the EQ around 2:15 this morning; even heard what I thought was thunder, but soon realized no storm could cause the house to shake like that. It was creepy hearing the wind chimes we'd stored underneath the deck rafters ringing their little heads off while the bed shook. I couldn't get back to sleep for awhile, thinking about the earth opening up and swallowing us up, and other happy thoughts. It was nice to wake up to a normal day.

On another note, we haven't had even a frost, yet; closest temp has been 38f. Still have chiles, summer & winter squash, basil, and a few tomato plants in the garden, chugging along. The tomatoes, I know, will never ripen, but I'll find uses for the green ones. The winter squash is very close to being ready, and I'm hopeful that we have enough days above freezing for them to finish up. Summer squash we eat as it gets big enough. I sowed the squash seeds on Aug 1, and haven't seen one squash bug or vine borer. I know better than to expect that to continue, but it's been nice.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 5:31PM
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We didn't have a freeze here in OKC until the first part of November so I don't count that as early at all and its well within our normal range. I don't remember a late freeze last spring out of whats considered normal or anything else unusual except it was dry.

We skated by tornados and hail this year personally, but then, I can't remember a single year without tornadoes. I always expect them. I'd be surprised if we didn't have tornadoes somewhere in the state in any given year and its the luck of the draw as to who gets hit so that just seems to be business as usual in Oklahoma because it goes with the territory, doesn't it?

Last years hail storm was worse than anything that hit us this year. I'd never seen or heard anything close to that knee deep large hail storm that hit Edmond and cut a strip through NW OKC on a Sunday around 5:00 and didn't melt until past midnight and so many homes battered beyond belief. I cannot ever remember one going on for so long and so loud. I have solid brass doornobs outdoors with dents in them. Gardens were destroyed for the season. We are still recovering in spots.

The ongoing drought is the big story of 2011 along with the unusually heavy blizzard last winter as far as unusual weather goes it seems to me, here in central Oklahoma. We had a couple of icestorms a few years back that were much worse in terms of damage. I have read droughts come in cycles so maybe its not out of the ordinary?

I was working at my desk when the earthquake hit. I thought something had exploded. Another bomb. My desk shook, my painting moved while I was working on it and my two lights rocked back and forth, banging against my desk for some time. Felt pretty weird. My husband was on the ground floor in his studio which has a concrete slab and felt nothing. I was upstairs so I guess its the rocking factor.

Maybe its the calm years where no serous weather occurs in Oklahoma that would be considered abnormal, now that I think about it, because I could list quite a few other bad years, like the May 8th frightening and destructive record tornado that ripped through Midwest City and a couple of very bad flood years I wouldn't want to repeat.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 5:37PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Average last frost date in Oklahoma/4-15.
Frost, NOT freeze/5-1 (re-read post)
Check out previous post, "possible tomatoes ??" (especially Okiedawn's comments)
Average first hard freeze in Oklahoma/end of Nov.
True....tornadoes DO go with the territory, unfortunately.
True....we've had some interesting weather in OK the last few years, but only speaking of THIS year.
Drought has plagued OK for years (Dust Bowl), but very unusual for triple digit temps. to hang on for weeks on end.
Here's hoping we ALL will see a better gardening season next year!

10:53 PM-------------Another tremor, much stronger


    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 12:08AM
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Yeah, the year the tornado went through Midwest City was a bad year, too. Was that 2000? we were still building our house, living in an RV and I saw the tornado build outside to the north, watched it on the news. We were just about 10 miles south of the beginning of that devastating tornado.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 9:46AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I understand Jeanie's points about it being a very interesting weather year. I'm in southern OK just a couple of counties south of her county and we, too, have had more extreme weather the last 3 or 4 years than we experienced previously, and especially this year.

In Love County, our average last frost date is March 28th. However, for the last 4 years we have had a late frost during the first week of May. The first year it happened, the forecast was for 50 degrees and we went to 32 and had a very heavy killing frost. I lost most of my veggie garden because the frost wasn't forecast and I didn't have anything covered. Since, then, I don't trust the forecasts and use frost blanket-weight floating row cover on nights that I believe there is even a remote chance of a frost.

This year, I had to cover up the entire garden in early May with the row covers, which included potatoes, onions, broccoli, sugar snap peas, tomato plants up to 3' tall and with fruit about half their mature size, sweet corn about a foot tall, and bean plants. Any veggie plant I failed to cover suffered frost damage.

It is hard now to believe that early in the 2000s I could transplant tomato plants into the ground as early as the first week in March and only have to cover them up once or twice, if at all, before the danger of frost had passed. Now, no matter when I plant them, I have to cover them up once or twice a week until after the first week of May. We're definitely seeing more late frosts here in our part of the state.

We had our first freeze of autumn here on October 20th this year, which is about 3 weeks ahead of our average. One year we had it in late September, and one year we had it in mid-December. The first freeze of autumn seems much less consistent that the average last frost of spring, but I don't trust the autumn average too much since our actual dates are all over the place.

Hail commonly hits our county 3 times a year, but tends to be fairly small and not very widespread. I think at our house we have averaged 1 hailstorm per year since we moved here. In 2011 we had 11 hailstorms. I hope we do not have a hail year like 2011 ever again. We didn't have big hail at our house, but it was big enough to damage veggies and knock fruit off the trees. At the NW end of our county this year, they had a hailstorm with baseball to softball sized hail and it destroyed a beautiful private greenhouse made of glass. I guess sooner or later the odds catch up with everyone.

In our county, tornadoes are not terribly common. I think we saw 1 or 2 funnel clouds total our first few years here, from about 1999-2005. Since 2005, we see several funnel clouds every year. This year we had 3 go right over our property within a period of about 20 minutes. Luckily, most everything we've seen has been an in-the-air funnel cloud that barely touches down on the ground anywhere in the county and does minor damage. Last year a funnel cloud touched down in the Red River about 1/2 mile west of us and then went northeastward towards Marietta, touching down here and there as it skipped its way across the county, but mostly out in pastures where no real damage was done. I was listening to storm chasers on the radio as they were sitting and spotting the tornado from a road 1/3 of a mile from our house. I hope our luck holds and they continue to stay up in the air as they fly past.

Speaking of this year, the state of Oklahoma recorded a new record maximum one-day snowfall this year, the lowest temperature ever recorded in the state, the most intense wind ever recorded (I don't remember which tornado it was recorded in--I think the last F-5), and now the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the state.

In our county we recorded the hottest day ever, beating a record that has stood since 1963, and we had the longest string of days with a high temp at or over 100. I believe we recorded 76 days, and think 68 of them were consecutive. Most years we might have 10 or 15 days over 100, based on 30-year averages. Even worse, though, was that while our normal exceptionally hot days might reach 106 or 108, quite a few of these days this summer were in the 110-113 range. Those are official temps from the OK Mesonet. Many local residents reported high temp readings in the 115 to 116 range on outdoor thermometers at their homes.

This was not our county's driest year ever if you go by year-to-date rainfall through the present date. I do believe it was the driest through the end of August, with a mere 12". Since then about 6" has fallen, with more expected the next couple of days, and I think right now it ranks as the 2nd driest ever for our county, but suspect that it may not even make the top 5 driest years in our county if good rainfall continues in November as expected.

Still, it was the combination of extraordinary drought plus above-average heat that made this a summer the folks in Love County will never forget. Some old-timers here tell me it was worse, in terms of drought but not heat, during a 2 to 3 year drought in the 1980s and a longer drought in the 1950s.

And the earthquakes! I admit that when we moved here, I had no idea Oklahoma even had earthquakes, but there's been a lot of them this year. How long has it been since the recently-observed increase in the number of earthquakes per year? Two or three years? Maybe four? Oklahoma averages 50 quakes a year, many too small to be felt. What is different about this year? There's been over 1,047 earthquakes this year and more of them have been a slightly higher to much higher magnitude that the usual ones that occur here. Also, some of them have only been a few miles below the surface of the earth so they are felt over a wider area.

All in all, I think 2011 has been a very interesting year in terms of weather and earthquakes. There's been a lot of extremes, a lot of newsworthy weather. But, we are in Oklahoma, after all, where the weather is always very interesting to say the least, and never, ever dull.

Having been through many drought summers and drought years here, and two flooding years (2004 and 2007), I'd take a hot, dry year over a flooding wet one any year. My plants do better in a hotter, drier year than in one where water stands on the ground for weeks on end and kills the plants.

The types of soil and climate found in Oklahoma vary drastically from one part of the state to another, as does the weather. The rain Carol and Dorothy receive in their northeastern and eastern parts of the state is mind-boggling. Likewise, the rainfall we receive here in an average year is probably more than twice what folks received in western and northwestern OK. So, what is odd to one person may not seem odd to another, depending on where they live in the state and what they are used to having.

We have had just about everything but flooding this year, and maybe some of y'all had flooding and I just don't remember hearing about it. I'd say we had everything else but a plague of locusts, but for many of us, the plague of locusts (swarms of migrating grasshoppers) hit both last summer and his summer too, so we had to deal with those as well.

I love Oklahoma. I love living here, but the weather sure keeps us hopping. I'd love to have a perfect year where the weather was perfectly pleasant and even-keeled, and matched up exactly with the averages, but I think it's never gonna happen. I do remember that the weather in 2002 was as close to perfect as I can remember it being here, and one of the things that was so wonderful was the nights stayed really cool and pleasant in May and even into June. My father-in-law was visiting from Pennsylvania and was ready to enjoy Oklahoma's famously hot weather during his time here with us in May and June. Instead, the poor man about froze to death with weather just as cold here at night as what he left behind in Pennsylvania, and grumbled that he'd wait until July or August to come back the next year. I wouldn't mind having another weather year here like we had in 2002.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 12:27PM
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Jeanie, I didn't mean to get off topic with bringing up other years. I was telling it like I experienced it here in central Oklahoma. You seem a bit defensive there.

Dawn, not that we weren't hotter than hell here and dry as dust but reading your posts about the perpetual fires was like you were describing a different country or a TV show. I can remember other droughts that seemed worse, one in the 90's I think and one a few years back when the vegetation looked much worse here and there were more trees dying. There have been more fires in our news coverage area in past drought periods than there were this year. We don't hear much about the southern part of the state up here.

The cedars are considered public enemy #1 now. In the last few years, I have noticed with alarm how fast they are eating up what used to be grasslands. I saw many bright green pastures covered in black cedar carcasses early this year. It looked bizarre.

It seems summer is almost always too dry but some years are drought years and it seems like they come every 9 or 10 years or so. Every now and then, a wet summer happens. I don't like the humidity however and usually am glad when June is over and it starts getting dry.

The weather events we remember as the worst, are the ones that hit us the hardest, personally. I had no complaints this year compared to you or my friend down in Austin. For me, the worst part of this summer was it seemed claustrophobic and as if we didn't have summer. I felt as closed in as winter. I did all my gardening at night this year. Fall has been great fun and very busy for me and I finally get to do things neglected in the heat and its so nice out. All in all, I fared fine this summer and have had worse. But thats just me personally.

So, it does depend on where you live in Oklahoma, your soil, what you are growing and your own preferences as to what is worse weather or not as bad. I like hot and dry (within reason) and dislike green, lush and wet. I'd do good in a desert climate.

Weather varies through out the state except I think its safe to say it was hot and dry everywhere. The other things like frosts and freezes vary a lot but I don't place much faith in averages and sort of take that stuff with a grain of salt because it varies so much from year to year. I don't use that information to plant by. Expect the unexpected and you will do fine in Oklahoma.

Floods are way worse than droughts for us and I would rather deal with too dry than too wet. I suffer from a mold allergy and get very sick when its wet or flooding. My garden will take too dry much better than too wet and then there are the bugs to deal with.

Heavy snow is also bad because we have a flat roof house and have to go regularly shovel snow off the roof (or ice, even worse). We have leak problems with snow and too much rain if we aren't diligent. So that is why these years seem worse to me personally. It seems like we keep getting hit by heavy ice in the last few years and we live in fear of it now. We have been without power in the middle of winter for over a week twice now. My husband and I are already sort of getting nervous. We must not be the only ones because I was reading about generators on this post. I am stocked up on kerosine, lamps, candles etc. We got caught short once and spent a lot of time in the dark.

I think if you live in Oklahoma the rules are broken as a rule. That is the norm. Predictability is not the norm.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 3:52PM
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I plan with the dates of April 15 'til Halloween in mind. That doesn't mean that I have everything in the ground by then, but I usually have put a few tomato plants out but knowing that I will probably have to cover them several times. I wouldn't be comfortable planting more than I could easily cover until sometime in early May.

Although I am much further north than many of you, I have not yet had a freeze. I picked a couple of handfuls of Sungold tomatoes this week that have not had any protection. I have some hot pepper plants that I do have wrapped in some lightweight row cover hoping they will turn red before they freeze. Others in the county south of me have had a heavy freeze. We need to mow this week.

Dawn, I think you can count flooding in your synopsis of the year because over near Dorothy they had 8 plus inches at one time. I had that much over the period of a week or so and it was enough that my ground was just soggy. I had onions in the ground that just fell over. I could move them all around. The roots were still attached but the ground was so soft that it wouldn't hold the plant upright.

Then as summer came we were very dry, and I had to water much more than usual.

I drove through Joplin this week, which is still a mess, and was reminded of that same day when we had 3 tornadoes here in our area of Oklahoma. All in all, I would have to say that our worst weather event in my area are the ice storms. It is not just an inconvenience, it is destructive because of the damage it does to the trees. They not only lose limbs, they just start falling over. This also happens when the ground gets saturated, then the wind just blows them over.

Every year I have a greater appreciation for the pioneers who had to live on what they grew or hunted. I'm afraid that my family would not be well fed. I have a friend here that grew up in this area and lived with her grandparents. She said they planted an acre garden and bought almost nothing from the store. I know that they were better gardeners than I am.

This afternoon the clouds have moved in and we are supposed to have rain for the next two days. I think we have already reached last years rainfall amount. By the time we can mow, our grass may be knee high. LOL

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 6:03PM
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Coldest temp here in recorded history.
Largest snowfall here in my lifetime (2nd official blizzard).
Hottest July in recorded history (statewide) and hottest temp here in my lifetime.
Driest growing season here in my lifetime.
Strongest earthquake in recorded history.

What else can 2011 give us here at my location?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 10:26AM
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We had the hottest August on record here in AZ with the hottest day on record (121). It seemed the heat would never leave. Last week it was still 101 but finally it left and some people even saw frost on their roofs this weekend with lows around 43 degrees and a couple of small rains.
Of course, since it's been so dry, I didn't even think when I left my entire box of seeds outside by the garden Saturday while planting. We had a thunderstorm that night and my seeds are ruined, including all my tomatoes, lettuces, beans, just everything. Makes me sick, considering I've made a couple of recent large seed orders. At least I had planted two of my large gardens and some of those seeds had already gotten into the ground. I need to get some more of the seeds planted, even if not in the priest of locations, before they sprout. I may even need to start my tomatoes early, just to keep from losing all that seed. Ugh!
Thanks Dawn, for the great synopsis.
What causes the booming noise with the quakes?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 1:19PM
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Earthquake Noise

Here is a link that might be useful: Sound source

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 2:32PM
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Tracy, at least we had an early fall cool down here and that was welcome. I was afraid it was going to be one of those long Indian Summers. It was as if you just knew the summer nightmare was over and that gardening was again possible and hopes were up again. We've had those unending lingering summers that seem like they will never end before and thats no fun at all, I feel for you. I went on a fall sowing seed ordering binge this year. So exciting to be in the garden again like normal. You guys at least have winter gardening you can do so hang in there.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 3:56PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Janet, Even though we have lived in the same place for the last 13 years, it is as if we packed up and moved to a whole different country around 2005.

Before 2005, we had normal Oklahoma weather and the only wildfire I remember was a couple of counties north of us. Then, it all changed.

Since 2005, our weather or climate has gone haywired in our county. We have had drought for a part of each year, and it seems the native vegetation is slower to recover each year. Dry trees and brush burn more easily. Ponds and springs recover less each time, etc.

Beginning in 2005, our small rural VFD went from running maybe 30 or 40 calls a year to running between 140-260. Obviously something changed. Many of them are wildfires now or very difficult-to-control brush fires or grassfires that don't really become wildfires--it is a very fine line.

After the drought of 2005-06 and late 2007-April 2009, I thought we'd seen it all in terms of wildfire. Been there. Done that. Then 2011 arrived and it was so much worse than anything that has happened here before that I find it hard to comprehend.

The easiest way I know to compare 2011's wildfires to everything that came between 2005-2010 (or the 'nothing' we had in terms of wildfires before that) is that in previous bad drought years, we might have had 1-3 wildfires so large and out of control that we had a "page all" summoning all 15 fire departments in the county to those extreme wildfires. This year? I think we have had about 15 page-alls since July 3rd, and had 1 or 2 back in mid-spring. I hope we never have a year like 2011 again.

I lived in Fort Worth all my life before we moved here, and we were lucky to have snow once a year. So, I loved the fact that it snows more here. In recent years, we have had more snow than in the early years and I am done with the snow. I love to watch it fall, but then I wish it would stick around a couple of hours and then melt.

I want to have our 1999-2004 weather back again. It may have been mostly hot and dry except when it was wet and flooding, but we were not literally burning up or buried in ice and snow.

Carol, Now that you mention it, I do remember around the time of the Spring Fling/Plant Swap a lot of our eastern OK residents were dealing with soggy soil and standing water.

My heart goes out to the people in Joplin. To have so much destruction on such a large scale must be so daunting. I am so proud of the resilience they've shown. I think of how Greenburg, KS, has recovered so well from their F-5 and hope Joplin has the same success.

I know your soil stays wet a lot most years and it can drive you to distraction, but one thing I've noticed by watching the moisture maps this year is that your soil dries out more quickly than mine. We'll both be at 1.0 or 0.9 and yours will fall a lot more quickly than ours. This drought likely has been just as hard on your plants as on mine, even though you've had probably twice the rainfall this year that we have.

I admire the pioneers too. Our first few years here it was my priviledge to get to know some of the old timers who then were in their 80s and 90s. Many of them came to Oklahoma around 1903 or so and remember the covered wagons, living in dugouts in the bluffs near the Red River, or in sod houses. Their tales fascinated me. Those people back then were tough. They knew how to scavenge for native food crops too, and they ate stuff a lot of us probably wouldn't eat willingly.

I mowed the rye grass jungle this morning, and I hurried because it looked like rain was coming. Here we are, hours later, and it is sunny and warm. I hope the rain gets here soon.

Scott, I have no idea, but you can bet the weather will drop in at least one more surprise. As I am typing this, there are tornadoes being reported in SW OK and they are moving northeast, so watch out!

Tracy, You're welcome. We all could write a book about what the weather did at our places this year.

Oh my! If it hit 121 here, I'd be packing up to move to Alaska or something. Were your horses and chickens OK during that heat wave?

I am sorry to hear about your seeds. What a disaster! Could you put the seeds into containers in a shaded location for wintersowing? Let them sprout and stay small in those containers until the time is right to prick them out, pot them up and then put them in the ground at the right time?

I agree with Cactusgarden that the early fall cooldown was welcome for a change. We were at the "I cannot stand this heat another day" stage when it finally started to cool off.

Today I was doing garden clean up and found four living broccoli plants about a foot tall and forming heads. If that doesn't beat anything I've ever seen. They were tucked away in a corner that gets a lot of shade in the afternoon, but I'll never understand how they survived July and August. I am pretty sure I had pulled up the other plants in that row in June or July, and then just turned off the water and closed the garden gate and walked away and let the drought have the garden.

This was my first really normal day in the garden in months and it was wonderful. For the first time since April, I wasn't worried about snakes! I haven't seen one in weeks, and that's OK with me.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 4:59PM
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It is some serious weather heading our way. Caddo Co. had an F4 go through. I have been cleaning the house, but I think thats what I heard between turning the vacuum off and on. 100% chance of hail and 70% chance of large hail heading our way.

Broccoli? Now that is a surprise. I was thinking of doing some sprouts and that was one I planned on. Can't believe it survived the inferno.

Tracy, if those seeds just got wet for a brief time, could you dry them out? Seems if they haven't sprouted or molded you could and then store them away. Maybe try a paper towel test for viability after drying them to see if they are worth storing or you need to re-order.

Dawn, do you remember that year all those fires were going on around Lawton? We drove through there and it was massive areas burned. Maybe you guys got rid of some undesirable vegetation and cedars. I like to see a silver lining on this kind of stuff. Its kind of the same thing as the wildlife doing its thing like you described, in my understanding and from what I have read. These prairie fires have gone on for eons as part of the natural cycle of things. Its just that now, there are homes in the path. Thats whats new. We have upset the ecology here too. Do these firefighters ever do controlled burns around there or anywhere for that matter? The native Americans did.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 6:45PM
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Dawn, I left two of the broccoli plants you gave me at the fling in the ground to act as aphid magnets and while they were chewed up all summer, I finally picked a head from one last week. First broccoli ever! Stir-fried it with sweet peppers, green beans and some store bought veggies and it was delish! Thank you!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 10:08PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Janet, I hope all the wicked aspects of the weather missed you while still managing to give y'all some beneficial rainfall.

This broccoli was supposed to be heat-tolerant, and it did produce some small harvestable heads in June or July long after the other varieties of broccoli had burnt up in the heat. Between the drought, the high water bill and the huge surge of wildfires in July, I essentially abandoned the garden in mid- or late-July. For about a month I didn't even step foot in it, but then in about mid or late August I started going into the garden briefly once or twice a week to pick okra, cherry tomatoes and peppers. The broccoli was on the opposite side of the garden, shielded from view by other dead plants so I never noticed it.

The broccoli is called Piricicaba and was developed in Brazil. I bought it from the seed company, Bountiful Gardens, that is associated with the Ecology Action group, and I chose it because they said it would produce even with temps in the 90s.

Mia, You're welcome. Success is so sweet isn't it? That's especially true considering the kind of weather the plants had to endure. I am so happy you got some broccoli.

I've never had broccoli plants survive this kind of heat, much less produce something. Normally my broccoli plants produce very well in May, and by early June, or mid-June in a cooler, wetter spring, they are going to seed and I yank them out of the ground and throw them on the compost pile. Then I plant southern peas or okra in their space, or use it for fall tomato plants.

I did notice the Piricicaba plants are aphid magnets. They'd have aphids on them even when nothing else in the garden did. I rarely have aphids in my garden and don't especially want to plant something that seems to attract them, but since it is worth having broccoli that is heat tolerant, I'll plant this variety again despite the aphids. At least the aphids will give all the lady bugs something to feast upon. If you don't have a good resident lady bug population, you could spray your broccoli plants with neem oil next year if you do see aphids or buy and release lady bugs.

Any broccoli variety that could stay alive and survive the Oklahoma Drought of 2011 and produce in the fall months after being planted in spring is well worth growing. I have grown at least a dozen different varieties of broccoli since moving here, and this is the most heat-tolerant one I've ever seen.

I've linked my seed source below in case anyone wants to read the description of Piricicaba.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bountiful Gardens

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 6:40AM
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