Here comes the heat

Yes, it wasn’t that long ago we were worried about our cold weather. This week, starting Wednesday April 7 we are due to hit 90 degrees. And we will spend 3 days at 90 degrees. According to the weather station I listen to, that is a week early on average for this area.

So welcome to the heat of Texas.

In anticipation of the summer temperatures here, I just had a pergola/deck cover installed over my outside deck. It looks like it showed up just in time. They are still working on the pergola, they delivered the wood and stained in on Thursday last week. They didn’t work Friday as it was Good Friday. But today they put it up, with just a bit of work to still do.

I am having a product called Polygal put on. We’ll see how I like it. I’m not quite sure how to describe it since I haven’t yet seen it. I’ll let you know what it is, and what I think of it once it gets installed.

Cold front

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.

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.

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.

Summer?

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.