Grow a Thriving Vegetable Garden in a Cold Climate
Kathy Purdy is the owner and editor of Cold Climate Gardening, a website offering gardening tips for people trying to grow garden vegetables, garden flowers and perennials in difficult weather conditions.
Frost is a primary concern for cold climate gardeners, since it can spell disaster for many plants. As such, knowing the best time to plant in the spring and harvest in the fall can mean the difference of success and failure.
Purdy installed an AcuRite Weather Environment System with Wind and Rain. The system lets Purdy monitor the temperature and rainfall on a daily basis. She also will periodically download the weather records to help her analyze long-term weather patterns. The temperature sensors help her determine if she is “overwintering” plants in conditions in which they can survive. Perhaps most importantly, Acurite's reliable weather forecasts can help warn her of an impending frost via text and email alerts.
Purdy said that the weather in her back yard “microclimate” is consistently colder in the winter and warmer in the summer than what the National Weather Service reports. Having more reliable data at her disposal has given her garden a better chance of success.
"The last spring frost and the first autumn frost are the defining moments of the gardening year. Many plants will die when exposed to freezing temperatures, so it's important to know when that period of time will occur," Purdy said. "Having advance notice of frost permits me to protect plants and extend my growing season."
Purdy added that trying to grow a successful garden without reliable weather tracking is like flying blind.
"You can't really succeed in gardening without understanding your climate and its typical weather patterns," Purdy said. "Tracking the weather yourself gives you the best understanding of your micro climate. Using the AcuRite weather station enables me to better predict when it is safe to plant out frost-tender crops and flowers. It also helps me plan the best time to start seeds indoors and when to sow a fall crop."
Don't depend on the TV weather report. Get detailed information for your specific location for the best success.