Yes, for anybody that wonders how hard it can be to garden in central Texas, today Jan 4, 2021 it is now 75 degrees outside. Sounds wonderful? Maybe if you are in dark cold snowy weather. BUT guess what it does to your garden. The poor plants don’t know what to do. Is this spring, summer, will it get cold? So yes, your lettuce may bolt, your peppers may even start sprouting, but what will happen?
Well, where the temperature will drop slightly, down into the 60’s later this week, we could still get cold 31-30 degree nights later this weekend. And we don’t really have much in the way of rain coming. So you can plant, or at least try, but what will the weather be like next week?
That’s why gardening here can be sometimes a significant challenge. We don’t have an easy to understand winter, nor do we necessarily have cold rainy weather. Water will always be an issue. And once it doesn’t finally get out of the cold, may be next month February, it may go from 60’s to 80’s. That may feel nice, no real cold, but you also miss that slow growing season.
By the time you hit the 80’s, you are now looking at jumping into the high 80’s to the low 90’s. And it won’t take long.
This is the challenge of gardening here in Texas. The seasons may be “short” and you may not have much time to grow what you want. It also means that direct seed sowing/growing, what I do, can be an iffy proposition. Plants may germinate when the temperature is right, but the calendar says its not time. And that is what can make it a challenge – planting seeds/plants at the right time, before it gets hot, regardless of what the calendar says.
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.
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.
Rumor, actually the weather service, has it we might actually get some cold weather. Where we’ve been 80 or close to it (tomorrow Thanksgiving its supposed to be 76), by Sunday evening we should be down to 37. And Monday evening we may even hit a low of 30. We’ll see if that actually happens, but it would be nice to get the cool down.
The other nice possibility is where tomorrow should be 76, Friday should drop to a high of 64 and maybe rain, and Saturday may bring thunderstorms and a high of 53. For the week after that we should be no higher than 65. That would be nice, a bit of a cool down. We will see if we actually cool down that much and if we stay cool for a few days. And we could definitely use the rain.
But at this point the weather service says we are finally going to get out the high warm temperatures and start our fall temperature cool down, with maybe our first frost of the season. Yeah, provided it actually happens. I’d even settle for chilly nights in the mid 30’s. That would be a welcome change.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.