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Wacky Spring Weather Woes  RSS feed

 
Posts: 21
Location: USDA Zone 8a, Middle Georgia
fiber arts food preservation homestead
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Hey y'all!  I'm in zone 8a.  There is a rule around here regarding spring planting: "Never put anything in the ground until after Easter."  This allows time for the last frost to pass and the ground to warm up.  So I was all ready to direct sow my tomatoes and summer squash this week.  Then SURPRISE!  Nature must have missed the memo.  The next few nights will be in the 30s and 40s.  Looks like I have to hold off another week or so.  

This waiting game makes me anxious for my summer squash.  Planting the squash before mid-April allows time for several harvests before the squash vine borer moth lays her eggs in  late June.  With my planting schedule off, my yields are sure to be affected.
Thinking now of planting extra squash to stay in the game.

How has this unexpected cold snap affected your planting schedule?  What adjustments have you made?  I know I'm not the only one!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1711
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Everything is in the ground and has been in the ground. Same 8a zone. 32 is the magic number, i don't see that in the forecast.  39 is lowest i see.

Been harvesting asparagus for a month. I think its about done. Broccoli is done. Cabbage getting close.  Potatos about knee high. Corn is starting to come up. Been harvesting lettuce for a couple weeks.

The only inconvenience has been mason bees that my wife bought. They are in the fridge until nights are over 50 degrees. Havent had a full week above that which seems strange. Any week now....
 
garden master
Posts: 2041
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Zone 8a:  I have been wanting to plant for over a month.  

Last week the iris had blooms. The honeysuckle is blooming.  Milkweed has sprouted. Firewheels and Blue Sage are blooming.  Echinacea has buds on it.


Last year someone on the forum said to watch for the mesquite to bud out so that is what I did.

Waited for Easter to get over with.

It is cool/hot on any given day.

Bought two tomatoes to transplant and next week maybe we can find so more plants at a better price.  I gave DH a bunch of seeds to plant.
 
gardener
Posts: 2447
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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We got over a foot of snow since last Saturday.  It's snowing now (they say 1-2").  It may get above freezing on Monday.  

Last year I had beets planted by now, this year there's 18" of snow still in the garden.  I was probably too early last year but I surely won't be this year.  

 
wayne fajkus
pollinator
Posts: 1711
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I am totally confused on the reason you 8a'ers are waiting. Maybe it will bite me in the butt.

This pic is all volunteers from seed, from spreading last years " slow compost" onto a new bed. Cucumbers, tomatos, squash. All are bigger than transplants that could be bought today.

Im not trying to gripe, just understand the logic. I use a texas a and m planting guide to determine when to plant. Its a pdf easily found by googling "central texas planting calendar".

The only exposure i think i have had was potatos, but its never been a loss. What gets destroyed on top  is replaced by a new surge of growth coming up.
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gardener
Posts: 5058
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Even though a lot of us are in zone 8a, that doesn't mean the weather patterns are the same through out the zone. (yes it can be very confusing since the USDA makes it sound like the whole zone should be the same)
Zones are averages of temperatures and we should all know by now that when you use averages or means that there can be a large amount of variance but still be in that mean or average.

Texas can have monsoon like weather that never reaches Georgia but there are zone 8a areas in both states. California also has some zone 8a area but the pacific ocean guides the weather in that part of zone 8a, not the gulf of Mexico.

I am zone 8a but I am also on top of the Boston Mountain Range, I get a lot more wind than those folks 2 miles from me.

What I have always done is plant when I can in the spring and then I make sure my soft row covers are in good shape since I may have to pull them out to cover the gardens for just one or two nights. (April 3 and 4 the we had temps low enough for the covers to go on because of wind chill).

What zones do accurately tell us is how many growing days you will have in a year and what the high temperatures should be and how much you will need to water before August arrives. (zone 8a August is normally termed "the dog days", hot, humid and no rain in sight)

Redhawk
 
gardener
Posts: 422
Location: Sierra Nevadas, CA 6400'
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Wacky Springs and Falls do seem to be getting more common as the climate continues to change. For me, I think I've taken this as a sign that I need to invest more time to better understand row covers, poly tunnels, greenhouses and other forms of protection.
 
Denise Massey
Posts: 21
Location: USDA Zone 8a, Middle Georgia
fiber arts food preservation homestead
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Thanks Redhawk for the explanation of USDA Zone assignments.  I'm still relatively new to vegetable gardening.  I had been taught that USDA Zones were chiseled in stone, the "10 Commandments" of gardening.  Understanding the reality of Zone variations makes the Wacky Spring Weather a little less frustrating!

 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5058
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
608
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Those of us that are currently in zone 8a need to be ready for the next jump up to either 8b or 9a over the next 7 years, how's that for written in stone? LOL.

My people have been talking about this changing time for about 150 years, the time when the world passes through the darkness (shadow of the creator) and then comes out the other side, we still are wondering what the new light will look like when we have passed through the shadow of the creator.

As we get deeper into this changing time, the temperatures for each moon will change (a moon is a month) and either be warmer or cooler than previous years remembered.
If we chart these changes in overall temperatures along with how many rains come in each month, we can develop a way to see what to expect in the years to come soon and that will let us prepare so we can plant at the right time but also be ready for the curve balls the creator and nature will surely throw at us.

Redhawk
 
gardener
Posts: 1504
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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In zone 7 here and tomorrow will be a rain and snow mix with tomorrow night getting into the 20s. So many fruit trees in bloom right now. Ouch. Hoping for the best. We have this exact same scenario every Spring. Last year, you would have thought the fruit trees were toast...nope. They did okay. The year before, they were totally wiped out.
 
gardener
Posts: 3723
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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USDA zones are only about the average low temperatures during the winter. They aren't of much use for other purposes. They basically tell you what plants you can expect to survive the winter. For example: fava beans can be expected to survive a zone 8 winter. Thus they are a great crop to plant in the fall.

I tend to do my planting, not by a calendar, but by the "progression of the seasons". And different crops can be planted in different seasons. My season markers are about as follows:

Plant at the beginning of the fall monsoons: wheat, rye, spinach, kale, winter-peas, clary sage, onion seeds, parsnip, leek seeds.

Plant just before the arrival of snowcover: favas, lentils, garlic.

Plant within days of the snow melting: spring grains, peas, spinach, lentils, garbanzos, cilantro, lettuce, onion bulbs, transplant favas from greenhouse, poppy.  

Plant about the time the daffodils finish flowering: carrots, beets, brassicas, turnip, bock choi, broccoli, cabbage.

Plant about the time that apples are flowering: corn, potatoes,

Plant after the lilacs finish flowering: squash, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans. One of the local sayings, is to plant tomatoes out after the snow has melted from the mountain range to the west.

Plant after the weather turns hot/dry: sweet potatoes, okra, watermelon.
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Snow on the mountain used as a marker for planting tomatoes.
 
Denise Massey
Posts: 21
Location: USDA Zone 8a, Middle Georgia
fiber arts food preservation homestead
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Lovely image Joseph!  Thanks for the reminder be an observer of nature rather than just noting the calendar pages.  Permaculture principles do work, even in Wacky Weather!
 
master steward
Posts: 6222
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I'm technically 8a, but I'm on a north-facing slope. The only things blooming are daffodils and dandelions. The salmonberry bushes and peach trees just opened up their first flowers yesterday. The only vegetables I have sprouting are peas and self-seeded radishes. The peas I've been planting since February 2nd, putting new seeds in the ground every week because none were germinating, despite having milk cartons over them. The carrots and beets I plants mid-march haven't shown up at all. I'll be sewing some more on the next non-pouring day.

Echinacea has buds on it.



Mine hasn't even popped up yet, let alone formed buds!
 
pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
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Frankly wacky is too jolly a word for what is going on in my garden . It's desperate :-(
Last year we had a drought that lasted until October then we had record wet months and it's still raining . The drought and the cool wet winter has had a devistating effect on the local bee population my garden is quiet, chances of good pollination of fruit zero I have yet to see a honey bee and the big girls -the bumble bees  are uncommon too . This is not just me all the local beekeepers have been decimated  both organic and conventional .
Seeds I planted a month ago no sign of germination - carrot beetroot Batavia zero nothing . I had to put off planting potatoes as it was like a paddy field where I intended to plant them .
Not good this year

David
 
Denise Massey
Posts: 21
Location: USDA Zone 8a, Middle Georgia
fiber arts food preservation homestead
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FINALLY! Zone 8a seems to be warming up properly. Stabilizing. For now.  Today local gardeners were excited about planting summer vegs.  I was too!  Sowed squash, tomatoes and eggplant.  
Hope my fellow Permies 8a'ers were able to move forward with their gardens.
Happy (belated) Spring!
 
Mike Jay
gardener
Posts: 2447
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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We're in the middle of 12" of fresh snow and 30 mph winds....
 
Anne Miller
garden master
Posts: 2041
Location: USDA Zone 8a
402
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Denise Massey wrote:  Hope my fellow Permies 8a'ers were able to move forward with their gardens.
Happy (belated) Spring!  



Well, mother nature fooled us again last night!  It got below freezing in my 8a Texas.  I brought in my hanging baskets but I am worried about the milkweed in a pot.


The wind has been too strong to get outside and plant anything.  One day we have north winds and cool temps,  Then the next day we have a south wind and it gets in the 80"
 
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