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Tracking Indicators  in Planter's Garden

"Generating food for ourselves is a political act.   We maintain sovereignty and sufficiency by doing so. . ."   A Mohawk/Algonquin farmer. 

Note:  After gardening  in New Hampshire's Zone 4-5 for seven years, we realize global warming and its attendant erratic weather is here to stay.   We decide to track the weather patterns and their impacts on our garden.  Wildlife are also an important indicator, so we include their appearance as well. Unfortunately, we have only sporadic records during that time.  Our first serious effort starts in late spring, 2004.

1998

9/13
*  Our first cool nighttime temperature low of 42 is registered.

1999

4/25
Drought turns to drizzle.

5/22
* Asparagus suffer a setback after several days of late frost.

7/5/99
Temperatures are in the high 80's.

7/28
* Japanese beetles munch on pole beans and hollyhocks.
* Drought continues.

8/1
* Returned from a 3-day stay on Lake Winnipesaukee to find the tomato hornworm decapitates over half our tomato crop.
* Northeast continues in drought.

8/31
*  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.

2000

4/15
*  Flytcatchers return to their old nest in the garage.

5/5
*  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. 

7/8
*  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. 

7/25
*  Garden peppers lack vegetative growth and begin producing fruit almost as big as the plant.  Nature's way of survival of the species?

8/20
*  Another reference to cool, rainy summer.
*  Tomato hornworm makes its first appearance.

9/15
* 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.

9/26
*  A hard frost is forecast.  Remay is used to cover tomatoes and we risked it.

9/27
*  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.

10/5
*  No record of temperatures.  Garden is put to rest in time for Fall Foliage Festival.

2001

The editor stopped saving our diaries at this point.

2002

First frost:  October 9th,  31

2003

Spring
* Cool and  moist

July
* 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.

October
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.

2004

Early May
*  The last freezing temperatures occur.

Mid-May
*  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. 

June
* 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:  Hurrican 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.

2005

January -- highest high 50, lowest low -10

March

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.

April

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 brought small hailstorm -- while unloading our manure!-- and significant precipitation. Temps averaging above 40's in morning and 60's during the day.

May

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. A N'oreaster stayed over the Northeast the last 1 1/2 weeks and dumped a coupl inches of rain.