We have had an honest to goodness rain and cold front event. Even though we had 2″ of rain the other day, yesterday we got an additional 1/2″ of rain. And cold weather, as in almost freezing nights cold weather.
Today, New Years Day 2021 it is blue skies, clear, and still a bit on the cold side. Where the forecast says we are going for a high of 52, with these clear skies we are also going for a low tonight of freezing, 32 degrees. We have a light breeze and I don’t see us getting anything in the way of clouds to keep us any warmer than that tonight.
I have covered my lemon trees, at least those I can, with green “planket” cloth, and two trees have lights in them to help keep them warm. Those are outdoor incandescent type Christmas lights. The incandescent lights provide a bit of warmth, LED lights don’t. Since my covered patio area stays warmer, since its covered, I have moved some plants back toward the house to keep them warm.
So the yard is doing okay. I do have a few things to do to it, figure out some planters that just didn’t work (not sure why they didn’t), and I need to pick up more soil and more landscape pins, those things are handy, and I’m already getting my 2021 seed catalogues. So it’s already looking like its time to start thinking of what to plant for this year.
We started this morning at a balmy 70 degrees. Now, 8 hours later, 6pm, it is now 53. We are going for a low of low 30’s, we’ll see how low it goes.
In addition its been raining. We’ve managed about a 1 inch of rain today. We’re also due for rain all day tomorrow. We’ll see how much we get.
But its nice having some cold weather. Its good for the plants, and it kills of bugs. And of course we could use the rain.
As for the garden, we spent this late morning turning the beds. We pulled out the old dead squash plants, pulled up the drip watering system, then turned the soil down to about 6 inches. I would have gone deeper but I couldn’t find forked cultivator. I ended up using a long handled narrow spade. I worked with what I had but if I can’t find some of my larger tools I may need to do a Home Depot run. We did put two bags of soil that had been sitting around into one of the beds. We probably need to pick up a bit more soil, but we can do that another day.
Now we need to wait to see what the weather does. The next few nights are due to be around freezing, or just above. Then our days are up back to the mid 60’s to 70’s.
Such is central Texas weather.
UPDATE: by next morning, we’ve had 2″ of rain. We had quite a thunderstorm come through this morning. But its now 2 inches of rain, and we are still raining.
Well we had another cold front earlier. We even had rain Saturday morning. We actually had 1-1/2 inches of rain. Its been a while since we’ve had rain. Our drought conditions have currently put us in severe to extreme drought conditions. Rain has not be in our radar for a while. But it was good to get what we did.
Between now and the end of the year, about a week and a half away, we expect to hit a couple of days of 70, but most will be in the 60’s. We don’t have another freeze here on the forecast for the next 10 days, but our evenings will be in the right 30’s to mid 40’s. Maybe we’ll get some rain, but there is not even a 50% chance. So I’m not holding my breath on that.
But such is Texas weather. It was a hot summer, hopefully at some point we’ll get some good cold. But if we do, its not yet.
We finally have our first real cold snap. Our temperatures have dropped from the 70’s down to low to mid 50’s. And tonight (YEAH!) we should get down somewhere just below freezing. I’ve seen the temperature for tonight rated as anywhere from 27-30, so we’ll just have to see where it gets. But we are due for a cold snap. Since we got rain over the weekend, just shy of 1″ here at the house, we’ve had time to dry out. So I don’t expect a lot of icy roads tomorrow, but it could happen.
In preparation I have covered plants. I have not covered my swiss chard nor my lettuce. I did cover the squash coming up and all the citrus trees. We did get some light wind over the weekend, after I had covered the squash. I ended up putting pieces of wood to help hold down the plankets (you know those plant blankets they sell, more like thin flexible paper than blankets). But I have high hopes for the squash surviving. We’re shooting for a high of 53 here, but by 10pm the temperatures should have already fallen down to mid 30’s.
I’ve also moved plants that were outside on the deck close to the house. Since the area close to the house is covered and sheltered, it does keep a few degrees warmer than out in the open. Its will get chilly, but not quite as cold as those plants out in the yard. Obviously these are plants in pots, including some succulents and my tomatoes.
I will say, I do miss the weather station set up we had at the old house. I may have to figure out how to set up something that will give me that same amount of information. That system showed me the changes in 5 minute increments, so I knew how quickly temperatures dropped. But of course, when we moved, we couldn’t easily move that.
Let’s see what tonight’s weather brings.
UPDATE: its 10:45 pm and it is already 31 degrees outside. It will be a cold night for Austin.
As strange as it sounds, we are in fall. Why is that strange? Because it is the middle of November and we are in the low 80’s. If this were a different section of the country, you might think we were in summer. Except we are a week from Thanksgiving, and this should be fall weather. This is warm even for Central Texas. The only thing that says we are not in summer is the fact that we don’t have longs days of summer sun.
But beyond that, this is autumn 2020 in Central Texas. For reference, my peppers are growing!! Even my squash plants are flowering! I will say with all that has been going on, 2020 has been a strange year.
WHAT KIND OF WEATHER IS THIS!!
Our nights are nice, though some areas have had frost. Here in the Austin/Dripping Springs area I have yet to get even close to a frost. I don’t know when we’ll get a frost, but I’m sure one will be on its way sometime soon. At least I sure hope so.
The weather in Austin has actually be rather nice the past few days/weeks. I took a long weekend trip earlier this month and came back to 90 degree weather. So Austin has been warm to nice. Nice being mid to high 80’s. But today we have had a cold front come in.
I was out walking the boys (my dogs) a couple of hours ago, just before noon. It was lovely, though a bit overcast. It was warm, a little bit humid, in the mid 70’s, my watch said 76. While walking the boys there was a light breeze. But during this walk I encountered a cool breeze. In a matter of minutes that cool breeze became a cold breeze. Still a breeze, no great strength to it. But the temperature began to drop. I had left wearing jeans, a tee shirt, with a denim shirt (no jacket), and the temperature began enough of a drop for me to begin to get chilled.
Now, just a couple of hours later, the temperature has fallen to 50 degrees per my watch. That’s a 20+ degrees drop in a matter of a couple of hours.
We even had a short shower outside. Not much, it registered as less than 1/2″ of rain. But needless to say, its a cold rain, on now a cold day.
The forecast – rain and mid 40’s for tonight.
As for plants, well I plan to cover the tomatoes or at least bring them in so they are under the patio. Those plants I’m worried about will probably be placed in the same area. Those I’m not worried about, the lettuce, flowers, mint, etc. those can stay outside. Since we don’t expect to get even close to freezing I’m not going to be concerned about them. Yes if it gets cold enough I may lose a few plants. But here in this area first front is due in less than a month, so those plants should be winding down anyways.
Maybe it really is autumn, going into winter here in Austin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Somehow they seem to think we are in summer. Well, the calendar says we are, but the weather is still wonky. We’ve had some days with storms, yet warm weather.
This past week, we had high 80’s and some 90’s yet have gotten over an inch of rain. We’ve also had some issues this week with a dust storm from the Sahara that made its way to Texas. Its left us with a haze in the sky. Its hazy enough to even notice it looking down the street. Its possible to notice the dusty haze on even such a short distance. Yet we had some rain, probably 1/4 inch, today, and about a inch earlier in the week.
As for the garden, its very different from my last yard. My two beds are growing some things well. The raised beds with squash, cucumbers, and melons are growing well. Yet the peppers in the same beds are not. I’m trying to chalk it up to old seed. I’m not sure that’s true, but at least it sounds good. I say I’m not sure its true as some new seed didn’t sprout even.
But I am having some success. I’ve begun harvesting some zucchini and cucumbers. I have learning some interesting things. Next to the deck is a small protected area. This area does get some shade. What’s interesting is that a pot with zucchini in this area is doing poorly, whereas the same seed in the raised bed is already producing. I’ve moved that potted zucchini out by the raised bed. We’ll see if that helps. I do know that the peas are growing well in this protected area. So it may be this is a good spot for lettuce and some plants that need less heat.
I have had some additional problems to deal with. I recently came down with shingles. In my case it has shown up on my face, scalp, and neck. This means it’s rather hard for me to go out into the sun. Luckily I was put on medication to help, and within two weeks now have scabs, so I’m no longer contagious. But I will say scabs on the scalp are not comfortable. Having shingles on the scalp have made washing my hair, brushing my hair, and wearing my glasses extremely uncomfortable. The pain and fatigue of shingles is a very real problem. So having shingles has made it harder to work in my garden.
But I am still plugging along. I’m even starting to think about next years needs. I’m thinking that my front yard may needs some irises, maybe a peony, maybe something else. I’d like to get some color out in the front, but of course I do have problems with deer out front so that has to be taken into consideration. We’ll see.
Texas weather has been strange to say the least. Its been warm, then hot. We’ve had temps in the 90’s, then all of the sudden it can change. The Austin area had some strange weather the other week, even an EF0 tornado touchdown in the outer areas of Austin. If you look up the Fujita scale, you actually have to hit winds of 65-85 mph to be classified as a tornado, and that puts you at EF0. At 86 mph you begin to hit EF1. Check out weather.com or another weather site for their information about tornadoes.
But last night we actually got rain. We got over 4 inches of rain. Its just after noon now, and the lightning is getting closer. The skies are dark and I’m betting we will get more rain. I’m not sure what time the rain stopped this morning, but it looks like the ground has had enough time to absorb the water, and the puddles are subsiding.
Last nights rain gauge as seen this morning.
Hopefully after the rain ends, and in a few days I will be able to put up some pictures of how the garden is doing.
With the heat I was able to put in some seeds that have been sprouting. Even though I have raised beds, the weather and temperatures here are different from our last home. We may be close by, not more than a few miles distance, there is a difference in the weather. And of course I don’t have a drip water system in yet. I’m working on that.
I’ll keep you posted. And yes, before anybody asks, the rain gauge is held on the metal post using wire and zip ties. Not the best, but eventually I’ll figure out where I want it then install it better. But not there yet.