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.
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.
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.