meteorologist and avid veggie gardener
By: georgevandenberghe , 5:58 PM GMT on July 05, 2013
For different reasons 2012 and 2013 have been good veggie gardening years in DC so far. 2012 was good because of extraordinarily early warmth getting me a three week jump on cool season things and the best quality I've ever had when they matured in cool
early May weather rather than hot late May weather. Many records for earliness were set. The season went a little sour in late June when extreme heat killed or severely damaged crops, most notably tomatoes were killed by heat and disease, the first time that's happened so early in the season. However I anticipated trouble and planted a second crop of much younger plants so I had tomatoes from June to November with an embarrassing break in late July-early August.
2013 was the coolest spring in several years but the coolness was concentrated in March and the first week of April. After that it was fairly normal. Early summer has been very wet but not so wet that soils flooded and roots died. Almost everything has done well this season although the cool season things can't match 2012's performance. Most warm season things were two weeks later this year compared with 2012 and about normal for this area. I'm now two weeks into sweetcorn, tomato, snapbean and squash season. The only thing that's really disappointingly late is peppers and that's due to cultural lapses (I have other stuff to do)
The real gardening season for me starts in July when I plant the first greens and August/early September when I plant the rest. Success at this time determines whether I'll have to buy greens at all in winter or whether I can get them out of my garden till April. One goal is to have lettuce all winter and I usually fail sometime in late December or January but spinach (and surprisingly broccoli) do overwinter.
A lot of people do summer gardening and many do better than I do. But I'm pushing the limits on winter gardening in zone 7. Eliiot Coleman's "The Four Seasons Garden" book inspired me.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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