Monday, March 25, 2013

Watching the Weather

Georgia gardeners and farmers have a lot to celebrate right now, even though they might not be able to get into their squishy fields to work. Due to last month's record-breaking rainfall, the soil-moisture deficit of the past few years is substantially reduced. There is such a thing as too much rain, but we aren't there yet. 

Weather.com's recent article "Another Warmer-than-Average Winter, New Report Says," summarizes data from a NOAA report about this year's winter weather.  This is the really great part for Georgia: "Parts of the state saw over a foot of rain during the month, and the statewide average was an impressive 9.92 inches, smashing the previous record from 1939 by over an inch."

NOAA's Spring Outlook report notes that the threat of minor flooding from the plentiful rainfall will continue into the spring, but that "Above-normal temperatures this spring are most likely across most of the continental U.S."

This morning, there were snow flurries at dog-walking time, and we are looking ahead at several nights in a row of freezing weather, which makes the looming "above normal temperatures" a little hard to believe. Last year, spring really was toasty warm very early in the season, but this year's spring is having a more-usual beginning: it's cold and windy. 

For local gardeners whose seedlings are busting out of their little pots, it's still to early to put the summer crops (tomato, pepper, squash, cucumber, beans, etc) out into the garden. Last year, the soils warmed up early, and planting time was also early. This year, our soil temperatures, as of today, are still below 50 degrees F, making it WAY too cool for the summer crops. Most of those summer crops will do best with soil temperatures in the 60s and above. We all will just have to watch the weather as closely as we can for a little while longer. I hope my seedlings won't mind hanging out indoors for a few more weeks!

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