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Weather Journal at Planter

Two trivia tidbits from the weather channel:

The physics of sound velocity apply to lightening and thunder.  Rule of thumb is a storm is
1 mile away for every 5 seconds counted between the sight of lightening and the sound of thunder. (Especially
useful if you are standing on a mountain ridgeline or underneath some trees.)

Count the number of cricket chirps in 15 seconds and add 40 and you will get the temperature
at ground level in degrees Fahrenheit.

We began our first NH garden in 1998.  Then, weather was more predictable, so Editor did not 
take good notes.

By 2003, weather extremes had appeared so frequently and intensely, that  we moved our planting
dates forward to June 10th.  We remain prepared to whip out the rowcover infrastructure 
earlier or later as needed.  We also use black plastic for hot peppers, when possible. Very 
labor intensive: worth it for extreme chileheads.  

This journal reflects our efforts to adapt to these climate changes, while we wait for
the politicians to get it right!


The New Year begins with temps falling to single digits and wind chills hailing from
various clippers.



This month, dealt with 18" of snow and ice dams on the roof. No major storms, though, just cold temps.


Major storms hit NH, leaving about 2 1/2' of snow. The Winter of 2008 is second to record snowfall of 122" in mid-19th century.

We are very concerned about the impact on our bear and deer. Usually, they show up show up this month, but we have seen no signs so far.


Snow melted gradually with no heavy accompanying rainfalls, so no major flooding. . .yet

Warmer temps late April, but morning frosts still persist. Dahlia bulbs planted. The front that caused a tornado in southeastern Virginia gave us 3 1/2" of rain the last week of the month.


Stopped recording weather--too busy! Despite an exceptionally wet and cool spring, we did manage to meet our June 10th deadline for planting first pepper sets and preparing the tomato row.


Only notable record for this month was "record rainfalls for the region." That must have been the month New Hampshire was a couple inches short of a century-old record of 144" for the month.


Whatever happened this month was beneficial for all crops except tomatoes, which developed a leaf spot, probably a fungus, that led to losing leaves. Another notable "nonoccurrence": tomato hornworm, probably because of the heavy summer rains. Tomato hornworms appeared later this month.


The first near frost low was 37 on 9/10.

We begin measuring weather by Hurricanes this month: * 9/6-7 Hanna 3 1/2" * 9/14 Ike @ 2" * 9/26-27 Kyle 2 1/2"


Fall foliage beginning to peak in Warner (central NH) on October 1st. Temperature highs still in the 70's and low's in the 50-60-degree ranges. About to end with a cold front moving in. Tropical storm Laura also approaching the northeastern coast.

Data below starts with our first NH garden:


We had a total of about 12-16" of light fluffy snow and the biggest, most devastating
ice storm in recent NH history.  Over 400,000 people lost power, some for almost a week.
We woke up to the sound of tree limbs cracking and went 3 days without power.

May the New Year bring better weather AND economic news!


*  Our first cool nighttime temperature low of 42 is registered.


Drought turns to drizzle.

* Asparagus suffer a setback after several days of late frost.

Temperatures are in the high 80's.

* Japanese beetles munch on pole beans and hollyhocks.
* Drought continues.

* Returned from a 3-day stay on Lake Winnipesaukee to find the tomato hornworm decapitates over half our tomato crop.
* Northeast continues in drought.

*  Plastic row covers are used over peppers.  Morning temperatures register 8-10 warmer inside.  They are removed during the day, when temperatures still hover in the 80-90 range.


*  Flytcatchers return to their old nest in the garage.

*  Temperature low dips to 25.  Greens sets stored in a recycled terrarium used as a cold frame are kept toasty under a blanket at 33.0
*  Temperatures immediate soar immediately after.

5/20  Zone 4 frost-free date
*  Temperatures are unseasonably rainy and cool. 

*  No notes for June but a reference to an extended cool spring is made later.
* Vegetable weevil and asparagus beetles arrive.
*  Wild yarrow and hawkweed in full bloom. 

*  Garden peppers lack vegetative growth and begin producing fruit almost as big as the plant.  Nature's way of survival of the species?

*  Another reference to cool, rainy summer.
*  Tomato hornworm makes its first appearance.

* Daytime temperatures still reach the 80's around mid-morning.  Plastic row covers are used on the peppers and are 6-10 warmer when the day is sunny.

*  A hard frost is forecast.  Remay is used to cover tomatoes.

*  They were right!  The morning's low registered 29 degrees.  At 7:30 a.m., it was 32 degrees, and the temperature under the row cover was about 37 degrees.     All salsa crops are harvested.

*  No record of temperatures.  Garden is put to rest in time for Fall Foliage Festival.


For some reason, the Editor did not keep written records this year. She did manage to take photos. Using dates as a guide:

We used plastic rowcovers on peppers in late June, so we must have had some late frosts.

On September 19th, we were still drying tomatoes outside, in our makeshift solar dryer.

Last week of the month,we began harvesting pumpkins.

Our sunflowers were huge!


do for this year.

First frost:  October 9th,  31


* Cool and  moist

* 6" of rain the last week of July, coupled with a moist spring, wreaked havoc on our tomatoes, which suffered from blight.  It also delayed fruit formation on the peppers.

August 6
*  First tomato hornworms appear.

First frost:  October 6th, 28
Warm spell at the end of the month helped make our first cover crop seeding a success, despite the late date.


Early May
*  The last freezing temperatures occur.

*  A warm streak, with temperatures in the 80's for about a week..  Hardening off begins around this period.  

May 25
*  Over 2" of rain the past 5 days, with high temperatures hovering around 50-58 and lows around 45-48.    Fronts moving through the midwest during the same time spawned flooding and tornadoes. Highs predicted of around 70 for the next several days.
*  First moose sighting in our back yard. 

May 2005 reported as the coolest, wettest May since 1917.

* June 9, 2004:  93
* With exception of above, this June was a true spring, cool mornings and evenings, and enough precipitation to perk up our naturalized plantings, plenty sunshine.

* June 11th: replacements sets planted, no site of cutworms in soil
* The last cutworm in 2004 was sited June 19th. 
* Last week of the month:  first sign of Japanese beetles

July:  Overall, very humid

August:  Overall, very rainy

September:  Hurricane Ivan gave us 2 1/2" of rain.
*  First frost in 2004:  October 5th 30, then lows in 40's, highs 50-75; 10/20, low 29

November:  Temperatures swing from  63 during one day and 20 at night, with little rain, no snow

December:  A total of about 2" in several separate systems.   Temperatures generally above freezing.


January -- highest high 50, lowest low -10


20" of snow by mid-month.  Record low for the month: -2.     Regional weather persons say the snowfall in our region (Central NH) is now 20" above the seasonal average.  End of the month, daytime temps in 50's.


Huge N'oreaster predicted later this week.   April Fool's!

Temps in first 10 days move into 60's.

Week of April 16th brought daytime temps in the 80's.  Light rains are just enough for naturalized plantings and perennial beds.

Last week of April, while we were unloading our manure, a brief hailstorm hit us. Temps averaging above 40's in morning and 60's during the day.


May 2005 was the coolest, wettest May since 1917. Temps reached 70's in the middle of the month, followed immediately by a hard frost.  Our April Fool's joke last month became a reality.  A N'oreaster hovered over the Northeast the last 1 1/2 weeks and dumped a couple inches of rain in our central NH area. 


Wet and cool periodically all month. Transplants happened after the 10th, during the dry spells.   Weather officials speculate on the warmer


Temperatures begin to warm up to mid- to high- 80's later in the month.   

* July 10th:  Adult asparagus beetles disappear and their larvae are under control by spraying every 10 days with Bt.
* July 12th:  No sign of vegetable weevils.  Reemay protecting its favorite, tomatillos, is removed.
July 15th:  Less mature, hotter pepper plant leaves were chomped on, suffering huge setback during the last week of rains.   Squash bug, or similar insect, found on several, even though we don't grow squash.   No larvae castings visible, but applied Bt to leaves and soil just in case .
* Overall, very humid.


Early in the month, temperatures remain consistently in high-80's. Mid-month, highs vascillate between mid-70's to low-80's. 

8/1   Twice a day scouting in the garden keeps Japanese beetles under control, using our trusty Bug Brew.  The first tomato hornworm was spotted on a pepper plant.

8/14  A Canadian front gave us 1 1/2" of steady rain.   Still no sign of hornworms.  Both pumpkins show signs of squash vine borer. 

8/18  Hornworm damage to tomatoes leads to discovery of a well-fed beast:  3/4" x 3".   A note in Taking Stock to apply Bt before damage appears - perhaps starting 8/1. 

The rest of the month is a blank . . .


Predators have left the garden and bees are busy enjoying borage, sunflowers, and tomato flowers. 

Last year,Hurricane Ivan dumped 2 1/2" on Warner, NH.  This year, Hurricane Katrina was so exhausted, we get only a few showers.


Wet !  The residual of Tammy caused death and destruction in southern NH and gave us 6" of rain. 

Frost tab

First frost in 2002:  October 9th,  31
First frost in 2003:  October 6th, 28


Early Spring

Mother's Day floods topped last year's record brought by Hurricane Tammy in October. The Warner River sought the lowest overflow point on its raging course to join the Merrimack, and found our road. We were even more surpised by the amount of damage carried to the Warner from the Mink Hills. Overdevelopment in the Mink Hills and along the Warner River plays a significant role in contributing to flood damages.

Heron on Road

Heron takes advantage of our flooded road to do a little fishing.

We had planned for a later planting date, anyway, so that, in between rainy periods and by June 25th, most of our sets had been transplanted.

Temps were in the 80's during June. Early summer "Nor'easters" kept weather fronts circling over New England, so sun was largely hidden most of the time.

July 4th weekend: mostly sunny and high in the high-80's. The gardens require watering every three days.

Pests so far are invisible. No signs of cutworms, which appear to have lost their window during the Mother's Day floods. The Asian garden beetle is harder to detect until the damage is done, because it resides under the soil level during the day.


Temperatures were too cool for peppers and tomatoes to do much growing. Farmers market vendors were grumbling about late tomatoes and corn. By the end of the month,about the time the plants started showing signs of life, the tomato hornworm appeared.


Plants could not grow quickly enough before our 9/20 first-frost date. Luckily, temperatures were still in 70's by that time. Used plastic rowcovers on Hungarian, ancho, tabasco, and habanero. Temps inside rowcovers averaged about 4 degrees higher by late morning, more if the sun was shining.

The 3 Ancho plants "almost" produced a good crop. If it weren't for that cold snap in August. . .


First frost: October 7th

Second frost: about October 9th

last harvests: tomatoes and a few peppers 10/7; dill, kale and rosemary 10/15

cilantro and parsley still going strong as of 10/19

Intermittent rains the last week of October, but temperatures on 1st of November downright balmy.


No snow.



First below freezing (low) temps came intermittently in mid-month. At this writing (25th), first below 0 degrees low is predicted. About 2" of snow are sticking. We are not holding our breath for more!

February and March

About 12" of snow fell in late January, early March, then melted by the end of the month


First week, another 10-12" of snow, possibly a record for April.

Then, all hell broke loose! A spring rainstorm April 16th combined forces with melting snow to carve canyons into our road.

Thanks to some gentle lobbying by our neighbor, we were stranded only two days.


High temps in the 80's early in the month allowed a burst of planting cool-weather annuals, some bulbs, dividing perennials. Lost a couple Moss Rose by leaving them exposed when temps plunged to mid-30's. Reemay is on hand for another cold snap.

At least 2-3" of rain fell for almost a week in middle of month.


High temperatures vascillate between low 60's and mid-80's in early June. Over 2" of rain in the first 10 days of the month.

We squeeze tilling and planting between rainfalls. Cherry peppers are planted June 11th. We wait for the next weather break to plant Hungarian, serrano, and jalapeno peppers. Hotter peppers (habaneros, piquin, tabasco, and Thai are not quite ready for planting.

Third week, we get 1/2" of rain. Evenings are cool. Fireflies are awesome!


Cool and rainy entire month. Peppers and tomatoes languish.The sun comes out during the July 4th holiday. We live each sunny day as if it were our last, and mow lawn and garden, weed, and chill out on the porch!


Early August,Hungarian peppers begin producing fruit when 8-10" tall, almost as big as the plant. Temps fluctuate as much as 20 degrees in one day. Lows in 50s, highs in 70-80's.

8/1 Twice a day scouting in the garden keeps Japanese beetles under control, using our trusty Bug Brews.   The first tomato hornworm was spotted on a pepper plant.

8/14 A Canadian front gave us 1 1/2" of steady rain. Still no sign of hornworms. Both pumpkins show signs of squash vine borer. Low temps drop to mid-40's. Add row cover to Hungarian peppers.

8/18 Hornworm damage to tomatoes leads to discovery of a well-fed beast:3/4" x 3". A note in Taking Stock to apply Bt before damage appears - perhaps starting 8/1. 

August 25th: 95 degrees high!

Temps dropped again to chilly 45 degree lows -- until September 7th: high 92 degrees. Our pepper source said jalapeno crop reduced this year, plants "shriveled" up, but can probably meet our 17-pound requirement by Sept. 14th. Roma tomato supplier also said their crop is late to mature.

September temps were seasonal. Harvested most of peppers for canning anyway, before we left for our two-week sojourn to Utah Canyonlands.

October: Returned to find yet another pepper harvest and temps in mild 50's. First frost did not arrive till around 20th of month. No hard frosts until November.

November: Snowed about 2" mid-month, then only precipitation in form of rain. First below freezing temp after Thanksgiving.


Snowiest December in our area in over a century: 44". At Planter, most fell in three separate storms.