Thomas is an avid weather enthusiast, landscaper and organic gardener. This blog is dedicated to Northeast and tropical weather forecasting. Enjoy!
By: sullivanweather , 7:19 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
RIP Eight Belles
This magnificent filly ran a spectacular race in the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby finishing 2nd behind the favortie Big Brown. Upon finishing the race Eight Belles refused to be held up, wanting to run further than her body would allow. She broke both her two front ankles in an attempt to stop her and had to be euthanized a mere few minutes after running the race of her life.
Eight Belles ran a total of 10 races, finishing 1st in 5 of them, including her final 4 races leading up to the Run for the Roses. She failed to show in only one race.
Blog 1: Planning the Garden
Blog 2: Cool season crops
Blog 3: Companion gardening
The most recent cold snap is now behind us with little chance for freezing temperatures in the near future for regions where the growing season starts on or prior to May 1st. With the threat of frost now on the wane we can expand further into other aspects of gardening, namely container gardening. A thought did pass my mind to move on to warm season crops but for most of us soil temperatures are still too low. In addition, while many of us have a yard to install a garden there are those of us out there that don't. There's many ways one can garden using containers (flowers, conifers, vegetables & herbs). What this blog will focus on is vegetables and herbs. After all, this series of garden blogs is geared towards growing your own food - organically.
Unlike flowers, most vegetables have extensive root systems which require lots of space to spread out. With this being the case, the bigger the better when choosing a container to grow your vegetables in, although there are a couple of exceptions. A container too small for tomatoes, for example, will produce smaller tomatoes in reduced quantity. Also, once roots bunch up at the bottom of a container the plant will become susceptible to disease, especially in over-watered containers. Hence in choosing a container you’re going to want to make sure you choose one that’s appropriate for the vegetables you decide to grow. Containers come in all shapes and sizes, from plastic to terracotta to wooden whiskey barrels. When choosing a wooden container be sure that it has not been treated with any chemicals to preserve its integrity. You don’t want to plant anything inside a container treated with toxic chemicals that can easily be absorbed through the root systems of your plants.
Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage family members and squash all have extensive root systems which will require a large deep container. Root crops such as onions and beets, beans, legumes and herbs can all get away with being planted in smaller, shallow containers. You’ll want to keep this in mind being that some containers can run quite pricey.
After obtaining the containers you’ll need some soil to fill them with. I must add, before filling your containers with soil you’ll want to be sure your containers have proper drainage. Most containers come with drainage holes already in place, however, if it doesn’t you’ll have to add your own. In addition to ensuring proper drainage you’ll want to add a layer of stones or a stone/charcoal mixture to the bottom of the container. This will also help with drainage and the charcoal will help to prevent root disease. Although different plants require different soil types I'll try to make soil selection as straight forward as possible. What I recommend is buying two types of soil, an all purpose organic fertilizer and garden lime. The first soil is a ’soiless’ growing medium that can be found at most nurseries or big box store garden departments. It’s called ‘pro-mix’ and I’ll provide a link at the bottom of this post to their website. It comes in several sizes from 3.8 cu.ft. bails to 2.2 cu.ft. bails as well as smaller sized bags. The second soil type would be a humus rich garden soil marked as organic. Steer clear of humus rich mixtures of soil that contain petrochemical fertilizers such as Miracle Grow. I recommend a soil called ‘Bumper Crop’ which I will also provide a link for. You’ll want to use, on average, a 70:30 pro-mix:bumper crop ratio when filling your containers. You’ll want to leave about an inch or two of space from the lip of the container to the top of the soil level. In addition to the soil you’ll want to amend it with an all-purpose organic fertilizer. As mentioned in previous blogs in the garden series, a great organic fertilizer company is Espoma which is widely available. They have a large line of organic fertilizer products ranging from all-purpose fertilizers, such as garden-tone, to specialized products such as tomato-tone. Add an appropriate amount of fertilizer following the instructions provided on the bags of the product to the soil in your containers and mix it in well. This will ensure that there will be plenty of food for your plants roots as it reaches down into deeper soil strata. Lastly, since pro-mix is a product derived from peat moss it will be acidic in nature. Since some plants such as beets and cabbage family members will find this acidic soil offensive you’ll want to raise its PH level. Garden lime will be needed to add to the soil of such plants to attain a higher level of alkalinity. Of course, always follow instructions on the bag of the product to ensure proper dosage.
Just as important as soil, you’ll also want to give your container gardens proper amounts of water and light. Keeping your containers evenly moist is essential to the health of the plants. Container gardens may also be fickle as once they dry out it’s often quite difficult to moisten the soil once again. This is due to the compaction of the soil as it dries making the dirt less porous. If this happens don’t be fooled! You may water your container garden only to have most of the water drain down the sides of the pot. It will take several doses of water to moisten your soil if it dries out. To make sure that the soil is retaining water once again you’ll have to make a small hole several inches into the soil of your container to check it for moisture retention. Often times the top of the soil will appear wet however just a couple inches below the surface will be bone dry. Due to the small volume of soil containers hold they will dry out quite fast, especially during periods of hot dry weather. Once summer-like temperatures set in be sure to give your containers regular watering once a day, preferably in the morning while the humidity is still relatively high. On extremely hot days (95 degrees or higher) it may be necessary to water your containers twice a day. Over-watering can also be a problem. If you take a pinch full of soil and squeeze out more than a drop of water your soil is likely too moist. It may all sound confusing now but after a couple weeks you’ll find a happy niche in watering your containers properly. Making sure your container gardens receive proper amounts of light is also essential to the health of your plants. Plants such as lettuce and cabbage can be burned by too much sun, especially during hot summer afternoons so you’ll want to provide them with some shade during those hours of the day. Root crops will require higher amounts of light and fruiting crops require the most. So properly placed containers will provide your plants the best health and highest yields.
Companion gardening, as discussed in the previous blog, is a great way to maximize your harvest from your containers. There’s also ‘pigmy’ plants that are suited to be grown in containers that will help with space. As always see your local nursery professionals in helping to choose your plants.
There’s other factors to keep in mind with container gardening concerning safety. When filled with dirt and watered containers can be quite heavy. After full of soil and watered you’ll want to be sure you don’t hurt yourself in moving them. Placing the containers on dowels and sliding them to where you want them will help to prevent potential injury. Also too many containers on a deck, for example, may cause that structure to collapse. Be sure to know how much weight your deck or patio can hold and don’t exceed that limit. Plants produce a surprising amount of yield so there’s no need to go overboard if using containers.
Soil moisture 0-200cm
Soil temperature 0-10cm
Soil temperature 10-40cm
Kelvin temperature scale
273.15°K = 0°C
Current watches, warnings and advisories.
Synopsis - Issued 5/3 3:25am
Deep low pressure over the Upper Midwest which brought a late season blizzard to the High Plains will pull into southern Canada during the day on Saturday pushing a cold front towards the Northeast. This front will bring showers and the chance for thunderstorms in the warm sector as it pulls through the region. The front will pull offshore Sunday night with high pressure building in its wake for Monday and Tuesday. The next system, a northern stream trough, will move into the Northeast by Wednesday with another trough to move into the region out of the southern stream by late week.
Short-term - Issued 5/3 3:25am
Surface high pressure over Nova Scotia has kept a warm front draped over the Northeast for the previous two days. This high pressure will move little during the day on Saturday keeping the pesky marine layer banked along the coast and the east side of the Appalachians due to onshore flow. Under the marine layer one will find low clouds, fog and drizzle with a few steadier showers moving from northwest to southeast along the warm frontal boundary. High temperatures will remain in the upper 40's to upper 50's with a stiff easterly breeze blowing at 10-15mph. Once one heads west of the marine layer the clouds will break and temperatures will climb into the 60's and 70's with a southerly flow. By late in the day a pre-frontal trough will approach western New York and Pennsylvania bringing showers and the chance for thunderstorms. CAPE values will rise to 600-1,000 J/kg by afternoon as a 50kt low level jet punches through the region. Any convection that does develop has the potential to transfer these stronger winds down to the surface. These storms will continue into the evening as they push east through central New York and Pennsylvania. However, once they head into the stable marine airmass they will fall apart becoming more of a stratiform rainfall. Additional showers will develop along the actual cold front that will be moving into western sections of the region after midnight as the initial batch of precipitation moves into New England. Overnight lows Saturday night will range from the upper 30's to low 40's over Maine where dry conditions will prevail. The remainder of New England will drop into the 40's as will western Pennsylvania and New York as the cold front will clear this area ushering in chillier air. The eastern half of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southern/south-central New York will likely remain in the 50's.
A mid level short wave rounding the base of the deep trough carved out over the Great Lakes will spawn a surface low pressure at the triple point of the frontal boundary over the Northeast Sunday morning. This will act to enhance precipitation over New England during the day on Sunday where amounts will range from a half inch to an inch. Further west over New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania the cold front will push through with clearing skies in its wake. Temperatures will rise into the 60's across the southern half of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southeastern New York. Elsewhere over the region temperatures will climb into the 50's with 40's over northern New England. Rain will continue to push eastwards into Maine during the evening hours on Sunday as high pressure builds into the region from the Great Lakes region with clearing skies from west to east. Frost will be possible across the mountains of northwestern Pennsylvania as temperatures drop into the mid 30's under those clear skies and light winds. Elsewhere over the region temperatures will remain in the 40's. Southeasterly winds ahead of the front will become northwesterly before becoming light and variable across western sections where high pressure will become the dominate weather feature.
Radar: Northeast Region Loop
Current Northeast Snowcover
Current SST's off the Northeast Coast.
Great Lakes SST's as of 04/15/2008.
Fillipini's Pond conditions (Lake across street)
11/11: 33°F - 1st morning with grease ice on lake.
11/24: 32°F - patchy ice on lake this morning
11/25: 32°F - lake iced over completely, melting along the shores during the afternoon.
12/1: Patchy ice has been on the lake all week. Lake should freeeze over completely tonight.
12/3: Lake is frozen over and covered with snow.
4/4: Lake is beginning to thaw from the shores inward
4/6: Lake is now completely unfrozen.
April Daily Weather Statistics
April 1st - 64°F/41°F....0.46"...25%...0.0"...(>1")
April 2nd - 41°F/27°F....0.01"...90%...0.1"...(>1")
April 3rd - 48°F/16°F....0.00"...80%...0.0"...(>1")
April 4th - 41°F/31°F....0.67"...0%....1.8"...(2")
April 5th - 46°F/37°F....0.08"...30%...0.0"...(>1")
April 6th - 46°F/36°F....0.00"...20%...0.0"...(Trace)
April 7th - 49°F/34°F....0.01"...30%...0.0"...(Trace)
April 8th - 59°F/29°F....0.00"...50%...0.0"...(0")
April 9th - 61°F/31°F....0.00"...90%...0.0"...(0")
April 10th - 64°F/43°F...0.00"...100%..0.0"...(0")
April 11th - 55°F/43°F...0.32"...5%....0.0"...(0")
April 12th - 70°F/42°F...0.44"...70%...0.0"...(0")
April 13th - 46°F/32°F...0.00"...30%...0.0"...(0")
April 14th - 49°F/27°F...0.00"...50%...0.0"...(0")
April 15th - 55°F/26°F...0.00"...95%...0.0"...(0")
April 16th - 65°F/25°F...0.00"..100%...0.0"...(0")
April 17th - 75°F/31°F...0.00"..100%...0.0"...(0")
April 18th - 83°F/40°F...0.00"..100%...0.0"...(0")
April 19th - 81°F/48°F...0.00"...95%...0.0"...(0")
April 20th - 61°F/47°F...0.00"...10%...0.0"...(0")
April 21st - 70°F/45°F...0.00"...95%...0.0"...(0")
April 22nd - 72°F/38°F...0.00"...90%...0.0"...(0")
April 23rd - 75°F/44°F...0.04"...80%...0.0"...(0")
April 24th - 71°F/46°F...Trace...90%...0.0"...(0")
April 25th - 74°F/39°F...0.00"...60%...0.0"...(0")
April 26th - 64°F/52°F...0.09"...40%...0.0"...(0")
April 27th - 63°F/45°F...0.06"...20%...0.0"...(0")
April 28th - 50°F/42°F...1.19"....0%...0.0"...(0")
April 29th - 48°F/36°F...0.08"...40%...0.0"...(0")
April 30th - 47°F/29°F...0.00"...50%...0.0"...(0")
May Daily Weather Statistics
May 1st - 56°F/25°F...0.12"...30%
May 2nd - 48°F/45°F...0.05"....0%
May 3rd - 48°F/43°F...0.16"....0%
May 4th - 64°F/45°F...0.07"...60%
May 5th - 67°F/35°F...0.00"...75%
May 6th - 70°F/36°F...0.00"...90%
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