Compare your growing season

digit(ID/WA)October 20, 2007

Hi Everyone!

Would you like to compare your growing season with other locations around the region and around the US? (see link below)

Don't worry too much about the term "Growing Degree Days" unless you want to explore that subject. It would make as much sense to call them "units" as "days" and some people do. You can just use the numbers for purposes of comparison.

Using corn as a reference crop is simply a standard for a warm-season crop. Probably tomatoes could be substituted since they have similar heat requirements. And, for comparative purposes, once again, it doesn't really make much difference when one is considering the growing season.

Using a cool-weather crop like peas would make a difference since growth would take place at a reasonable rate at in cooler climates but, we can pretty much grow peas in any American garden at some time of the year. What we may have difficulty growing are long-season crops, not short ones.

And, for growing something like corn or tomatoes - take a look at some of the coastal cities. Can you imagine living in Eureka, California! Well, I can since I attended high school about 8 miles away. And, as a comparison consider Anchorage, Alaska. Ha, ha, ha . . . better gardening in Alaska than California!! Yep, I bet it usually is. (David, we were talking about day-length awhile ago and here's your evidence.)

I have no idea why all the data and cities aren't included. Why, for instance Mt. Washington, New Hampshire is there (sure, that's where they grow LOTS of corn! ;o) and why Denver's numbers aren't all included.

Here's where you need to go to find more info on Denver and other Colorado cities - scroll down the left-side until you can click on 1st the city and then "Growing Degree Days." Here's the map of the West for other states.

digital S'

Here is a link that might be useful: Current year-to-date GDDs for selected US cities

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david52 Zone 6

Those are both really neat sites - thanks, Steve.

What I would like to find, sometime, is somewhere I can find a graph of, say, the 30 yr daily average for the months of July - Aug, and then the temperatures that happened during 2001 when it got so darned hot and dry that everything died.

Another thing I'm trying to find is better documentation on the accelerating snow melt - we're generally a month earlier in peak runoff than when I grew up. Somewhere, I found a great river flow data bank for the Colorado, with all the peak flows for all the tributaries, but that doesn't help all that much.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 3:23PM
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For Cortez, here's the dryness and it looks like it was a big problem in 1999-2002. Under Precipitation, Monthly Precipitation Listings - click the
Monthly Totals and it will give you the years, 1929 to the present.

For temperature: Under Temperature, Monthly Temperature Listings - click one of the 3 Averages. Gotta say that 2006 and 2007 look hotter. But, neither month had many average maximums above 90°F until about the last 6 or 7 years.

SNOTEL (snow telemetry) data would give you all sorts of precipitation, snow depth, water equivalent, etc. info but I don't think it would stretch back into the pleistocene of your early years, David.

Steve's digits

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 7:22PM
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david52 Zone 6

I really like the instant data available from the snotel sites because I know exactly where they are, and thats where I take my kids XX skiing. It's also pretty impressive to watch the snow depth vary after a big storm, and in the spring, when it melts off.

Back when I was a youngun', they didn't have them fancy computer -radio things. Nope, measured snow with a pole vault; if you could vault yer'self over the snow drifts, then school was open.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 10:10AM
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I checked back on that "Year-to-Date" link and saw that data has changed this morning. ItÂs nice to be on the cutting edge of information.

The numbers don't jive with the links on the Western Regional Climate Center for accumulated growing degree days but apparently that's because NOAA is trying to keep track of the growing season. I can imagine the WRCC people who compile these stats complaining, "But how do I know WHEN they are planting their corn!" Meanwhile, NOAA must be saying, "But how do I know WHERE they are planting corn!"

If it seems strange to you that WRCC would add in those few growing degree days for months like February just remember these guys are bureaucrats and that's about all we need to know. Without actually defining some corn growing areas and dates itÂs a little odd. (But, that's okay since it might otherwise preclude J from thinking about growing sweet corn in Nederland. ;o)

And, that leads to the question of, "Is there somewhere else you'd like to live so as to have a better climate for gardening?"


    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 5:16PM
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