I think Autumn has hit

Last week was absolutely beautiful weather. We’ve been in the 80’s, hot for some places, but here in central Texas it qualified as lovely weather.

Even though there have been a few storms, hurricanes, and tropical depressions around, none have really affected us. There’s been one strange storm in the Gulf of Mexico. It never seemed to form into anything. It was strong enough to become a tropical depression, so it certainly was never a hurricane. For the most part this storm stayed close to the Mexico border.

That’s changing. I’m not sure even what this storm is named, but its been sitting there slowly keeping form. As of recently, last day or so, this storm has begun moving. It still isn’t exactly a formed storm, still not hurricane force. But it is on the move. Its slow, 45 MPH winds, but its moving at 7mph. Strange storm. But its on the move and with it here at home, the Austin area, we are getting some rain.

Now the good news is its a slow just barely more than a drizzle type of rain here. Some areas may be getting more rain that we are. As of this afternoon, we have barely half and inch of rain (1/2″). But we are due to get rain from it both today and tomorrow. Then its going to slowly move off towards Mississippi. But this slow movement means it could cause flooding in some areas. Probably those areas that have already seen a couple of hurricanes. From what the weather stations are saying it looks like it will mainly be along the coast from Port Lavaca to Houston, to Lake Charles, and over towards New Orleans.

But its nice that we’re getting some rain. And of course the we’ve dropped down to low 70’s. And that feels nice.

CORRECTION: its name is Tropical Storm Beta

Rain

Well, we didn’t cool down as much as they said, but we have cooled down and gotten rain. We are in the mid 70’s, that’s nice. And since last night we’ve had 1-3/4 inches of rain here at the house. And its been a pretty steady slow rain. Where we do currently have flash flood warnings for Travis County, it has been raining since last night. So even though I’m sure the ground has been absorbing a lot of the water, its still a lot of rain and its continuing. I’m sure some areas have gotten more than others. In our last rain last week, some areas got an inch, maybe 2, yet some areas got 7″ of rain. So some areas are fairly saturated. Those are probably more in danger of flooding. But at least we are getting some rain. And we need that.

The shade cloth I had recently put up has been pulled back so the plants can get what ever sun shines. I haven’t taken it down, and I’m not going to yet. I don’t know if we’ll have nice weather than suddenly have a hot spell or what. This is central Texas after all, and you never know what you’ll get for weather.

I was watching weather on tv this morning and it was interesting that some spots had gone from 100+ temperatures to snow in 2-3 days. That’s a rather significant weather change. But that’s what the weather has been like. Weather.com says some places have dropped 60 degrees in 24 hours. Denver for example was 93 on Monday. Today its 34 degrees at 9AM. How that for a change?

here’s how accuweather saw the change in Denver weather

We got rain!

Well its been rain, sun, and rain, and rain and run.

One day we got half an inch in a downpour. Then the next day we got another half an inch. Then a full inch of rain. Today we hit a lovely 88, I even took the dogs out for a walk. It was lovely. The sun has been out, its been a little bit humid, but not as oppressive as we’ve known.

Its just about 4:30 and it is pouring outside. Once it stops raining I’ll go see how much rain we got. It should be just a short shower, it was sunny and its still rather bright right now, even though its raining.

To give you an idea of how much rain we’ve had, some areas over 6″ of rain (couldn’t find data, sorry). That’s what they said on the news.

AND our forecast includes an early cold front.

I’m not sure how often the area of Texas gets a cold front, down to the 60’s in September. It will be interesting to see what we actually get.

But the garden should enjoy this cooler weather. I’ve took the time and put in the additional seed – spinach and lettuce. But the other seeds are doing fine.

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday was a our typical hot Texas day. Actually it was hot and humid. There were even spotty rain.

Today it was warmer at 9AM than it is at 4PM. This morning when I let the dogs out it was in the 80’s. Now its in the mid-upper 70’s.

And we’ve had a few downpours. At least they are not long lasting, but we’ve had some rain today. Actually we went to Home Depot for some items and while in the store it began raining. It was just pouring outside. When we went to the checkout, we headed to the area where you exit out to a covered loading zone. This way one stayed with the items, the other made it to the car and moved it to the covered area. Much more comfortable than standing in rain trying to fit everything in the car.

And they are saying we can expect rain for the next few days. We could even get rain through the weekend. Its not a continuous rain, it comes in showers. So we’ve had times with rain, and times without rain.

But the yard and garden are much happier with both the temperatures and the water.

And yes both my beets and the broccoli seeds have already sprouted. And both are under the shade cloth.

Sigh of relief.

Hurricane Marco was a bust. It didn’t do anything here. And Laura, which is currently still ongoing, make landfall at a category 4, and 12+ hours later is still a category 1. But it did not even give Austin any rain.

We are lucky, the storm did not make landfall in Texas, it landed in Louisiana, so we did not get that much damage. But make no mistake, Louisiana has taken a hard hit. Laura is a powerful storm, but at this point it is still a bit early to know the entire extent of the damage.

The storm is heading its way up to Arkansas, then over to the Memphis area, across Kentucky, then out to the coast, and up the coast line. How this storm is managing this I do not know.

As for Austin, we are back to hot. The weather forecast includes high 90’s to low 100’s again. How long this heat wave will last is definitely up for debate. Next week is the start of September and the highs are still in the 90’s. At this point I’m not sure what normal temperatures would be. But we are just plain hot.

Shade cloth

In honor of all this heat, I decided to attempt using a shade cloth over part of the garden. Since the garden is so close to the back fence, the shade cloth is attached to the fence using bungee cords. The shade cloth has grommets around the edges, so I have grommets impaled onto the 6 foot tall bamboo sticks to help keep it over the garden. Not the most elegant solution, but one that works for the time being. Since I’m not sure how long I will keep the shade cloth up, and I need an easy way to take it down if needed, this works. I consider this part of the learning process of a garden.

Hopefully this works and my fall seeds will sprout and be happy.

We got rain!

Saturday morning we were lucky enough to actually get that much wanted cool front. With it we actually got rain. We got 1-1/2 inches of rain here at the house. Much needed rain. The other nice part of the rain, was we did cool off some. Not for long, but a couple days of just below 100 was much welcomed relief.

I’m sure the yard will be so much happier that we got some rain. We also have an unusual weather condition coming up. There are two storms headed our way, Laura and Marco. Marco, I think, is expected to make landfall today somewhere near New Orleans. Laura is expected to make landfall in a couple of days. What will happen with either remains to be seen, but rain is in the forecast, probably Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll keep you posted.

the dry spot

As I mentioned before, I had these two raised beds put into my yard for growing my veggies. Even though I haven’t had as much success this year as I had hoped, I’m keeping positive as I get to know my yard better.

But the reason for this image is to point out the consequences of my choice. This is not about good or bad choices, this is just about the learning process. When we purchased this house it had a front and back lawn with installed sprinkler heads. That’s the good news. The land was already graded to allow for water drainage. My beds don’t seem to impact the water drainage. BUT, the beds do impact the sprinkler heads. The sprinkler heads do not pop up high enough to water beyond the beds. The heads do pop up, but the water can’t quite clear the beds. Consequently I have the dry spot in front of the beds where the grass is dying.

And if you’re wondering why there is green grass on this side of the beds, its from the drip watering system inside the bed. It sprinkles just outside the bed too.

Now I don’t have a problem with this, I can water the area easily. That’s why I have a hose with a sprinkler head. Its actually on top of the piece of wood to keep it level. It kept falling over whenever I turned the water on, so I put it on a piece of wood to keep it more stable. It does work on my yard.

Eventually, maybe next year I will see about what to do about the sprinkler heads. I’m sure there must be a way to get them to pop up higher, even if I have to get new sprinkler heads that do that.

But the whole point here is, if you make a change, it may impact something else. Just be aware of that, even if you didn’t foresee it. Most things are fixable. My problem here, the dying grass area, is not the end of the world. Its fixable, and even a small fix as far as I’m concerned. But I personally will accept I have to fix this in order to keep my garden. Having my garden matters more to me that this drying grass spot.

But that’s just me.

Still hot

Well, our triple digit days are still with us. Though last night we got a sudden downpour of rain about 3AM. It didn’t amount to much in terms of inches, less than 1/2 an inch of rain, but at least we got something.

But as for daily temperature, its still hot. We’ve been beating or matching heat records the past few days, and those have been triple digit days.

The rain has been helpful in cooling us off. If you can call it that. We will “cool down” today to about 95-99, depending on which weather site you look at. Its late morning as I write this, 11 AM and its already 87, so its not exactly cool. And of course it will heat up as the day goes on.

Some plants are going down hill. This heat has been too much and it is taking its toll. But that’s okay, its time to start thinking about the fall garden.

Texas heat

To help those of you who don’t live in Texas what our heat is like, the following is taken from a local new website, KXAN.com. This is what they posted, August 6, 2020 about Texas weather.

” AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thursday will be our 5th day in a row and 26th of the year with afternoon high temperatures reaching the triple-digits. Austin is likely to reach 103 degrees with humidity bringing heat index values to 106-108 degrees. 26 days of triple-digit heat is twice the average for an entire summer, and it’s only early August.

https://www.kxan.com/weather/forecast/todays-forecast/

An area of high pressure is now moving eastward into Texas. This heat ridge will settle over the state leading to mostly dry and very hot weather, even by August standards (average: upper 90s). There are some indications this second heat wave could continue well into mid-August.”

https://www.kxan.com/weather/forecast/todays-forecast/

Now I know there are other areas that also get hot, Phoenix Arizona comes to mind. But that is the point. There are some areas where gardening in the heat has a different meaning.

I pulled the weather conditions off Weather.com for Omaha, NE. Their high is 83 for today, but over the next 5 days is 85, 93, 94, 86, 87. If you live in Brattelboro, VT your weather is 81 today, with the next 5 days as 78, 79, 86, 90, 89. The point here is triple digit weather is not everywhere in the USA. And so gardening in these conditions can be different if you come from somewhere else and are not used to this heat.

And that is actually part of the reason I began this website. To track what the weather is, and how it affects my garden.

Oh, and yes my cucumbers are still producing well. Go figure.

Triple Digits

Yes, this is central Texas weather. We are back into triple digits. Its hot, no other word for it. HOT!

But we’ve also had a few clouds pop up. So we have days of hot triple digits, a quick drop in temperature, quick wind, a fast downpour (or maybe just a sprinkle), then the heat comes right back. How’s that for fun.

What it does mean for my garden is everything is in a holding pattern. I’m just trying to keep things alive. In 100 degree heat not much actually grows, nor do a lot of plants or veggies ripen. On the other hand my cucumbers are going gang busters. I have to check that plant daily! Go figure!

I have recently joined a Facebook group for Texas Central Gardeners. I figured since I can’t easily go out and talk to people, this would be a good option. On someone’s recommendation I have ordered a set of SVB traps (that’s squash vine borer SVB traps). I’m not sure how long it will take for them to arrive, but we’ll find out if they work. I actually have a set of squash plants still growing, so maybe they’ll show up in time and I can tell you how they worked.

On a different not, please please please, when you plant something try to label it in a manner that makes sense. For instance, I have used some of those white plastic in the ground sticks you write on. With the harsh sun here all the writing has disappeared. I used a sharpie, but not help, the writing is gone.

Another issue I’ve had with labeling plants, is I had a helper putting in my labels. Well, I had a plant labeled as watermelon. It sure looks like a butternut squash to me! Try to make sure you label seeds or plants correctly, and in a way that is still readable after rain or harsh sun.