Gardening and the Weather

There’s one thing we can’t control, and that’s the weather.

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When it comes to gardening, we want ideal conditions. Not too wet and not too dry. Not too hot and not too cold. It sometimes feels as if the weather is always against us.

We may not be able to control it, but we can take measures to work with it. Planting after the risk of frost has passed and covering our crops in the fall.

Collecting rainwater for watering when there’s no rain in sight. Planting in raised beds or adding sand and compost to clay soil for better drainage.

And sometimes Mother Nature dishes out conditions we can’t do anything about, such as a hailstorm.

Unless you plant everything in a greenhouse, hoop house or high tunnel (all basically the same thing) you’re going to have a challenge when it comes to the perfect weather conditions.

You may not be able to control it, but you can take measures to be better prepared for it. Let me explain.

One thing you can do is to tie your tall plants to a sturdy fence or poles to protect them from wind damage during a storm. That doesn’t mean you should be running around trying to figure it out at the onset of a thunderstorm, but rather plant so you have a measure of protection in place ahead of time.

Something else you can do is have framework above your raised beds or along your rows so you can add a cover if it’s going to storm or freeze. Hailstones don’t do quite as much damage when they have to get through a row cover first.

Investing in a weather station will help you make decisions based on the forecast, plus will give you some additional data as well. Knowing how much rainfall your yard gets during the summer will help with deciding which crops will flourish and which won’t without additional watering. Plus, knowing the temperatures (both highs and lows) will help with your perennial selection. Some plants can handle minus forty temperatures if they have adequate snow cover, while others are more sensitive to the cold.

The outdoor part of our new weather station.

If a weather station is out of your price range, take advantage of the local forecast.

I rely on The Weather Network App more than any other when it comes to planning my garden and the other things I do. It’s amazing how our area can be so different from the village, which is less than twenty kilometres away. It must be because we’re north of the river.

This year is going to be more interesting because we did invest in a weather station, so we’ll have more accurate data based on our precise location. It will be fun to see how much temperature, rainfall and amount of wind we get varies from the numbers my app will tell me. (Remind me to keep a journal so I can track the differences.)

We put it up this weekend so won’t know any predictions for approximately fourteen days. The instruction manual says it will take that long while the device learns our particular weather pattern. As it sits now, we can see outside temperature, windchill factor, wind speed, barometric pressure and humidity. Plus, it gives us some inside data as well. It’s like having a new toy; we keep checking the display to see what it says. We’re such kids!

The inside display panel.

We mounted ours to the top of a twelve-foot post and put it at the northeast corner of our garden. The instructions said it needs to be in as open an area as possible for accuracy. Our yard itself is quite sheltered, which has its advantages and disadvantages. (That, however, is for a different blog post.) Ideally it would be interesting to see how much of a difference there is between the open area and the sheltered area.

Do you have a weather station? If so, do you rely on it more than the weather apps or local radio/TV station? Post your comments below.

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