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.

We survived

The weather event that Texas went through the other week was one for the record books, in many ways. Did people die from this cold? Apparently yes. Not the best outcome. Why did people die? Well, from what I can tell it was a variety of reasons. For some it was literally the cold – they lost power, some for pretty much the entire week. Houses got down to the 30-40’s inside the house. Some had no water for days. The cold, no heat or power, no water, no way to safely warm themselves, no way to get out, and no way to get help – from what I can tell, those were reasons for deaths in this cold event. I’m sure there were other reasons too.

For those that live in cold climates, you may wonder why this was such a big deal. Basically it came down to preparedness. How do you prepare for something you don’t know? If you’ve never lived through an earthquake, all the information you can be told, all the videos you can watch don’t really prepare you for the actual reality. Also you may have expectations. If you think you can just call for help, how does that happen when cell towers are down? How do you charge your cell phone if you have no power? Most people never think about these things.

And when I say people, I’m not just talking about citizens. It applies to companies too. Disaster planning requires quite a bit of thought. If you have no water and you can’t get to a store, what do you do? You can’t use a hose as there’s no water. If you don’t keep water on hand, how do you get water? What do you drink?

I’m not talking about survivalist training, nor having a basement filled to the brim with items just for the end of the world. But most people seem to not understand, nor prepare at all for something to happen. Except things do happen. And no I don’t have any great suggestions. The information is told to people, its available online, there are a lot of ways to find it. But preparing take work, and not everyone can easily do that. Sometimes resources are just not there for people.

I am sorry people died. I was stuck inside too. Alone. And my power went off and on too. So I had to make do too.

But back to the garden. Such was the snow and ice event in central Texas. Now we just wait and see what plants survive. The good news is it doesn’t really look like I lost a lot of them. Most of the succulents took this cold hard and they may not survive. And I think the tomatoes are dead. But surprisingly, a lot of plants seem to have survived. Now its just wait and see.

Its snowing

By 10 AM we had a mix of snow, frozen mix, and rain. Shortly there after, it became snow.

Its now after 2pm, and its been snowing now since almost 10am. At 10am it was a mix of snow, rain, and more like a frozen rain. By 11 or so its been all snow. And it hasn’t stopped snowing. Sometimes its been light, sometimes much heavier. Even trees are getting covered and holding the snow.

Tomorrow should be warmer, even though tonight may get down to 26. And by Wednesday we should be up to the low 60’s.

This is central Texas weather.

UPDATE: We snowed from just after 10am until about 4pm. It may not seem to be a lot of snow compared to other areas, but here it was something of a big deal. This area is not known for snow, so its not something most people are prepared for. Did we get a lot, just less than 1 inch I would say, but that would be just for where I am.

It has left houses, yards, trees covered in snow. The streets in my area seemed to melt most of the snow away. There’s still some slush, but it didn’t look too bad. I still would not want to have been driving in it, but I don’t know how to drive in snow. The issue we have now is tonight is supposed to get colder. So will it freeze and leave us with a layer of ice over streets, overpasses, etc., that remains to be seen.

My funny issue has been my dogs. One was willing to go out into the snow, but the other one was not. I expect tomorrow, if it warms up I will have to make sure they both go for a walk. Today was a strange day as far as they are concerned. But overall they’ve taken the snow okay, even if not great.

Winter In Central Texas

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.

Welcome to gardening in central Texas.

Another cold front

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.

Another cold

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.

Winter?

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.

Summer/fall

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.

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.

Heat spell

Central Texas has been in the midst of a heat spell. We’ve had triple digit days (100+), record breaking heat, with heat indexes hitting 110+. Just plain hot!

So what does that mean for your garden? Just try to keep things alive. That’s really the best you can do. Don’t worry about what doesn’t look like its growing, just keep the poor plants alive. That’s all you can do. That’s the most important thing.

Now I’ve lost a few plants. My thyme plant doesn’t look like it has survived the heat. And I think my mint may have bitten the dust. That happens. But I have small plants of both that I can transplant and grow. That’s the nice thing about taking cuttings and making new plants.

Now for how the garden is doing. I put in a drip water system. Its not elegant, but so far it is working. That’s what matters. I do need to make some refinements. I’m noticing some plants don’t appear to be getting enough water.

Right now the drip water runs three days a week, two times a day (morning and evening), for 5 minutes each time (total of 10 minutes a day). So its not running a lot, but don’t forget, my main sprinklers also run 2 days a week. What I have been looking at is the water pattern. I am using sprinklers that water in a 180 or 360 degree pattern, not little bubblers that water an individual plant. So I have to actually look to see where the water hits. Now yes, I may need to change to bubblers, but that is part of the learning process.

Another interesting learning opportunity has been the seed. You might remember I went through my seed and got rid of old seed. I had some seed that had never been opened, they were company packaged in foil packets. Well I put some of that old, unopened seed in the beds. Guess, what, most all of it is sprouting. Some seemed to sprout overnight. I’m sure getting heat and water helped the quick sprout.

But that’s part of the learning process of gardening. If something isn’t working, its your job to be the sleuth and figure out what may be going wrong. If it sunlight, heat, water, just the wrong plant, old seed – you have to figure it out. But I’m happy to say we seem to be on the right track again. Things are growing well, and that’s what matters.

Happy gardening!