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stella1751
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I Want June Back

At this time of the year, when the temperatures have begun to cool and the end is in sight, I become obsessed with the weather. Mother Nature stole June from us up here; I want it back. The peppers and tomatoes have begun to produce like crazy, but their true promise lies at least six weeks in the future.

The average first frost up here is September 22. That gives me, roughly, 3 1/2 weeks. If I could have June back, and I do contend I am owed it, I would have a terrific pepper and tomato year. It can happen. It has happened in the past.

This morning I checked [url=https://www.almanac.com/weather/longrange]The Old Farmer's Almanac[/url] to see what was in store for Casper, Wyoming. Laugh if you will, but I have seen some uncannily accurate long range forecasts on this website! According to this, I won't get my six weeks, which kind of ticks me off.

We had a hot July and August, but we're light years behind the rest of the nation in warm temperatures, according to a recent article on my AOL News Service, [url=https://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/this-summer-may-be-hottest-on-record-in-the-south/19602771]“This Summer May Be Hottest on Record in South."[/url]

Notice the disparities in temperatures between the two halves of the nation, this from a visual included in the above article:

[img]https://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy292/mitbah/90daytemp.gif[/img]

It's hard to tell, given the tiny print, exactly where Casper lies. I enlarged the map in Paint, and we lie somewhere within the -1 to -5 average temperature range for the summer, this despite a very hot July and August, and all because of June, which one of our Canadian members, I can't remember which one, cleverly called "Juneuary."

I feel cheated. Nevertheless, I thought some of you might get a kick out of reading your long-range forecast and seeing where your summers ranked, temperature-wise, on the Mean Temp Anomaly chart. I don't mean to in any way discount the heat-related sufferings you Easterners and Southerners have undergone this summer. Really, 2010 been tough for all of us.

Nevertheless, I want June back.
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Hispoptart
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We live in Rangely, CO so we feel your pain. I fear we will be ripening our tomatoes in boxes in the basment this year. We got our first one yesterday and a few more will be coming on soon, but the weather here has been just as awful.

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Hispoptart, I had to look up Rangely. I lived in Thornton for ten years, and I've never heard of Rangely. Yes, you're definitely in the cool zone, probably even cooler than us.

I hear you about ripening tomatoes in the basement; I suspect I'll be doing the same thing. My biggest concern, though, are my peppers. The Habaneros have just started to produce. They'll need at least six weeks to mature. I also have a Hybrid Big Chile II that is now 9" long. I really want to see how long it gets, and I desperately want seeds from it.

The tomatoes are ripening daily. I believe I have enough out there to put up perhaps a dozen pints of chili today, maybe some spaghetti sauce, too. I'll get by, I suppose, with the tomatoes, but it strikes me as decidedly unfair that I may not get to see my peppers all mature :evil:
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farmerlon
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Yep, I can confirm that the Southeast has been hot; we had an incredibly hot July and August here in Tennessee.
Our average frost date is almost a month past yours (October 15th), so I'm hopeful that we'll have some more reasonable temps to work with during September and early October.

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I kind of miss July with all of the ripening tomatoes, but hey, now I have lots of onions, beans, and chili peppers to enjoy!
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stella1751
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Tomorrow night, the temperature is forecast to drop to 37. I am seriously bummed. It's too soon. The last time the temps dropped that low here was July 8. We just aren't getting a growing season at all up here!
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Hispoptart
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Awww geezz our lows are still in the mid 40's right now. I am so not ready for winter.

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stella1751
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I just checked the forecast: The forecast low for tonight is now 33. There's no way I can cover everything.

I wish I could get my hands on some construction road cones. Those would be perfect for sticking at the four corners of my Habanero plants. I'll have to figure something out for the NuMexes and my Hybrid Big Chile II's. If I have to, I will sit outside with them tonight and sing campfire songs. I can not lose my Frankenchilies!

No way I'll be able to cover the 6' tall tomatoes. There are four plants I can top, lopping them off down to the cage tops, but the other eight will take a lot of work to save. I'll have to decide this evening how energetic I am.

What a drag. A 60-day growing season is, well, a bummer.
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stella1751 wrote:Tomorrow night, the temperature is forecast to drop to 37. I am seriously bummed. It's too soon. The last time the temps dropped that low here was July 8. We just aren't getting a growing season at all up here!
37! :shock: I guess I shouldn't complain, my lows are still in the 60s....mid-50s at the lowest.
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Hispoptart
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stella1751 wrote:Tomorrow night, the temperature is forecast to drop to 37. I am seriously bummed. It's too soon. The last time the temps dropped that low here was July 8. We just aren't getting a growing season at all up here!
Last year we got 3 inches of snow on june 3rd that was not cool at all.

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stella1751
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When I was living in Cheyenne several years ago, we got 6" of snow on September 1. After the snow melted, we had six weeks of excellent weather, too late for my garden, which didn't survive the snow. The higher elevations can be the pits :(
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I would think that some of the crops would have survived it: lettuce, beets, onions, peas....unless, of course, you don't grow any of those.

It's strange, last year we got snow early Oct., but it didn't kill the plants :?. Now, about an hour into the snow, I did take a tarp and drape it over the toms, but some other tomatoes and some peppers were exposed and they were fine. Once we had an actual frost, though, the tell-tale wilted leaves were a sure sign the toms and peps were done.
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stella1751
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garden5 wrote:I would think that some of the crops would have survived it: lettuce, beets, onions, peas....unless, of course, you don't grow any of those.

It's strange, last year we got snow early Oct., but it didn't kill the plants :?. Now, about an hour into the snow, I did take a tarp and drape it over the toms, but some other tomatoes and some peppers were exposed and they were fine. Once we had an actual frost, though, the tell-tale wilted leaves were a sure sign the toms and peps were done.
Occasionally, I grow peas, but I never grow lettuce and rarely any root crops. As for the snow, there's snow, and then there's snow. I think the temperatures before, during, and after the snow deal a deadlier blow than the snow itself.

The manner of delivery also matters; in Wyoming, much of our snow comes down sideways, delivered violently on a high wind. Every now and then, I see what I call a "Christmas Snow": big, fluffy flakes drifting softly toward the ground. Those are rare, though, occurring perhaps only once a winter. Sharp, stinging snow BB's are much more common :lol:
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Yeah, I know what you mean. We usually get as much soft falling snow as hard, wind-blown snow. Often, it will alternate between the two during the same snowfall.

I think it is the temps that count, though, like you said, there is a big difference between a few flakes ans several inches. I suppose not many plants (except for root crops) would make it long with 4 in. of snow sitting on them.

OK, let's change the subject, I'm not ready to talk about snow yet :lol:.
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Hispoptart
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It's supposed to freeze here tonight and tomorrow, we have a freeze warning so I am off to find as many sheets as I can to cover my stuff up in a few hours. :( I sure hope I don't lose any thing.

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Hispoptart wrote:It's supposed to freeze here tonight and tomorrow, we have a freeze warning so I am off to find as many sheets as I can to cover my stuff up in a few hours. :( I sure hope I don't lose any thing.
At least you're preparing! I was out while it was snowing last year, in the dark, in the mud, trying to get a tarp over my toms :lol:. Definitely paying more attention to the weather reports this year :wink:.

Let us know how everything turns out.
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stella1751
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Hispoptart wrote:It's supposed to freeze here tonight and tomorrow, we have a freeze warning so I am off to find as many sheets as I can to cover my stuff up in a few hours. :( I sure hope I don't lose any thing.
Do sheets work, Hispoptart? (While typing out your screen name, it hit me what it actually says. I don't know why, but I thought you were Greek nutz: )

Anyway, back to the question. I've never tried sheets. Quilts are too heavy for peppers; tarps, too unwieldy in the wind. Sheets are an excellent idea! I could probably even cover the little bed of tomatoes.

BTW, we are also slated for a possible freeze, with a forecast low of 33 -helpsos-
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June will be here again in about 9 months.

Hispoptart
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stella1751 wrote:
Hispoptart wrote:It's supposed to freeze here tonight and tomorrow, we have a freeze warning so I am off to find as many sheets as I can to cover my stuff up in a few hours. :( I sure hope I don't lose any thing.
Do sheets work, Hispoptart? (While typing out your screen name, it hit me what it actually says. I don't know why, but I thought you were Greek nutz: )

Anyway, back to the question. I've never tried sheets. Quilts are too heavy for peppers; tarps, too unwieldy in the wind. Sheets are an excellent idea! I could probably even cover the little bed of tomatoes.

BTW, we are also slated for a possible freeze, with a forecast low of 33 -helpsos-

Yes sheets work as long as it's not to hard of a freeze, no freeze last night, but tonight was the one we are worried about most so I am gonna cover them again, just in case. I am not going to let mother nature have her way just yet.

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I just watched the local evening news. Our local forecasters are calling for a low of 28. I will definitely cover the peppers and one bed of tomatoes, but sayanara beans, cucumbers, pumpkin, and big bed of tomatoes if the forecast is right.

Thanks for the tip on sheets!
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It's 54 here right now and forecast for the low 30's so we covered as much as we could and we will cross our fingers . Hope you plants survive. NP on the sheet advice hope ya found enough old one to cover up what ya wanted to.

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As I type this, the temperature outside is 30 degrees. Generally at this time of the year, the temps continue to drop until 6:30 AM or thereabouts. I suspect the local forecasters will prove on the money this time. I think we'll drop to 28 by the time all is said and done.

Which doesn't necessarily mean that it is 30 outside right now. It feels and looks like 30, but there's a huge variability in this area, well, I suppose in any area, right? Duration of freeze also matters. It was 32 an hour ago. What really bites is that the high today is forecast to be in the mid-80s :evil:

I covered the peppers with tarps and tossed sheets over the small bed of tomatoes. I couldn't cover them completely, but I suspect the sheets will help somewhat. I will probably lose everything else.

(I'd be less than honest if I bewailed the loss of the cucumbers. Those plants have been producing like mad, putting out 30-40 pounds a week for the last five weeks. I'm a little tired of watering cucumber beds, picking cucumbers, and driving around town to deliver cucumbers. Never again will I plant two beds of this vegetable!)

Here's a question: Up here, when freezing weather is forecast, gardeners scramble to harvest everything, covering their counters and filling their fridges with green tomatoes and the like. Even as I followed their lead, I always wondered why they do this. Won't the tomatoes and such still be good in the morning? Doesn't it take more than a leaf-killing freeze to totally ruin the fruits? If you pick everything and then it doesn't freeze, you have compromised the quality of the produce. It seems to me they could be as easily picked in the morning.
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It's 6:10am right now, wunder ground says it's 32, Yahoo say's 37 and so does my thermometer outside, so looks like we have made through. I here you about the cucumbers, I gave up on those a long time ago. As for the tomatoes still being good, I would have to agree with you on that. But I don't know for sure. Since I keep them covered till I am ready to let them die, pick all the green ones, then just let them go. I hope your plants you covered survived. Because you are right on how long it stays below freezing makes a big difference. As long as you got the majority of the plant covered and only a bit of it gets bit, you plants should be just fine and pull through.

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Ok take that back, just went outside to look at my plants, what was not covered is frosted, so now I am really happy I covered them. I have to go to work in a few, so I will leave them covered and come home in about 2 hours to take the covers off.

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Hispoptart wrote:Ok take that back, just went outside to look at my plants, what was not covered is frosted, so now I am really happy I covered them. I have to go to work in a few, so I will leave them covered and come home in about 2 hours to take the covers off.
Let us know how everything comes out.

My cucumbers are pretty much done as well. So far, the temps are cooler, here, but no sigh of any frost and the day time temps are in the 60s, so it's all good.
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We're up to 37 now. I just wandered around outside and can see I definitely lost one bed of cucumbers. I guess I won't know for certain on anything else that wasn't covered until the sun is high and warm. That's when the frost-damaged leaves generally decide whether or not they can make it.

I'm feeling good about the peppers, though. If the uncovered beans aren't showing obvious damage, not yet, anyway, then I'm betting the covered peppers survived!
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Well the butternuts did not fair well even though they were covered. Not a complete loss so I am hoping they still get what they need from the vines. pepper plants did ok, just the tops of them frosted, and a few of the leaves on the tom's. So all in all I guess the garden came out ok considering the cold.

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Sorry to hear about your butternuts, Hispoptart! You're right, though. It could have been worse, considering the cold.

Oh. One word on the sheets: I draped them over the small tomato bed, and they got damp. By this afternoon, wherever the sheets had touched the tomatoes, the leaves had turned black. I just went out and chopped off all the black tops. Truth be told, I had been toying with topping my tomatoes this year, anyway, so it wasn't a hardship to snip off the top 6" to 8". Nevertheless, I did learn a good lesson from that: If you use sheets, you must make certain they don't touch the plant.

The one cucumber bed is dead only on the top. I went out and picked a bag full of cucumbers for my cousin, and I could see live growth under the blackened top leaves. I left a few of the biggest cukes on the vines. I'd been hoping to get seeds from that variety, just because it is crazy prolific and because I am having a seed-saving-experimentation year. I might still get seeds from them if the plants survive, and right now it appears there's enough live growth for me to think they have a chance.

Interesting thought: The taller the plant, the better the chance of survival. My 6' tall pole beans and tomatoes and my 7' tall cucumbers are all pretty much unscathed. The short cucumbers all had their tops blackened. Go figure.
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Glad to hear both of you made it through!

I kind of figured that the butternuts may still suffer a little bit since squash seems to be a little more sensitive to cool temperatures.

Peppers, on the other hand, seem to be tough. They can many times weather the first frost, if it is a light one.
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June? no way... I want Feb. That is when i start seeds. By June you better have everything put together or you're too late around these parts. By then you need melons to be flowering, tomatoes with fruit already growing...

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franktank232 wrote:June? no way... I want Feb. That is when i start seeds. By June you better have everything put together or you're too late around these parts. By then you need melons to be flowering, tomatoes with fruit already growing...
That's a really good point. For many of us here, there are only a few months that there is nothing garden-related going on. Even after frosts, many of us are still harvesting our fall-planted root-crops. Once the show and cold put an end to the garden, we pour over our catalogs, planning out next year's garden, order our seeds, then plan again :lol:. Once the seeds get here. It's only a few weeks until the early crop seeds are sown: onion, lettuce, ect., then the warm weather plants: tomatoes, eggplants, pepeprs. Caring for all these seedlings keeps us occupied until the snow (or heat, if you're in the south) is gone, the ground is workable, and everything starts all over again :D.
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I had the same problem with the sheets, I guess it was just to cold for to long. But atleast it saved the majority of the plant.

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From what I understand, when you cover a plant for the frost, to part should be touching the cover. If it is, it'll catch frost bite.
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Hispoptart wrote:I had the same problem with the sheets, I guess it was just to cold for to long. But atleast it saved the majority of the plant.
Ditto that, Hispoptart! It actually worked out very well for me. I had been toying with topping my tomatoes, honest, and that got me started. I now only have five out of twelve left to go. I should have done this over a week ago, when I saw what kind of a fall we were going to have :oops:

BTW, here we go again. According to weather.com, tomorrow's high will be 67; the low tomorrow night is supposed to drop to 38. Weather.com was off by 6 degrees the last time, so it looks like it's time to cover again :evil:
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Yep our forecast is lows between 25 and 35 tonight. so I will cover again. I only have 8 qts of toms canned. I'm not ready to quit just yet.

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stella1751 wrote:
Hispoptart wrote:I had the same problem with the sheets, I guess it was just to cold for to long. But atleast it saved the majority of the plant.
Ditto that, Hispoptart! It actually worked out very well for me. I had been toying with topping my tomatoes, honest, and that got me started. I now only have five out of twelve left to go. I should have done this over a week ago, when I saw what kind of a fall we were going to have :oops:

BTW, here we go again. According to weather.com, tomorrow's high will be 67; the low tomorrow night is supposed to drop to 38. Weather.com was off by 6 degrees the last time, so it looks like it's time to cover again :evil:
Actually, it's considered a good idea to top your tomatoes towards the end of the season as it allows the plant to focus more on ripening the fruit it has rather than to set more.

Man, you are getting pretty wide day and nighttime temp spreads! Hopefully Frankenchili will make it through another night. Perhaps it's getting close to the time to pot it and bring it inside.
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stella1751
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garden5 wrote: Actually, it's considered a good idea to top your tomatoes towards the end of the season as it allows the plant to focus more on ripening the fruit it has rather than to set more.
Most of my local gardening friends do top their tomatoes in August. I am an optimist. There was a year, I can't remember how long ago, but it was a while, that we didn't have a killing frost until November. Honest. I keep thinking it can happen. Not this year, though. I have come to accept that.
garden5 wrote: Man, you are getting pretty wide day and nighttime temp spreads! Hopefully Frankenchili will make it through another night. Perhaps it's getting close to the time to pot it and bring it inside.
I think this weekend, after the freeze, I will pot the one in the pea bed. I can't dig up my big producer, though, until its first two peppers mature, and it's in too close a proximity to the other plant for me to dig that one up. So, I will keep covering until I decide I must give up the ghost and get no seeds from those peppers. I think a forecast low of 25 would make me rethink the importance of those seeds!

Poor Hispoptart. You have my sympathy.
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Awww Thanks, I am so just not ready for this. Hope your pepper pulls through. I was thinking.....OH NO now were in trouble LOL, No but really, maybe when using sheets to cover the plants we could put in some wood stakes to drape them over so the don't touch the plants? I have a bunch so I might try that tonight. Then instead of using rocks to hold in down I will bunch some of the sheet around the stake then put a rubber band around it.

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stella1751
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I just watched both local weather forecasts for tonight: One station says the low will be 38; the other, 35. If they'd both said 38, I wouldn't have bothered covering. Unfortunately, 35 is too close for comfort, so I will cover the pepper bed, anyway.

Interestingly, one of the lead news reports was the publication of the 2010 Old Farmer's Almanac, particularly its listing of the top five cities in the nation for the worst winter weather: 1) Syracuse, 2) I can't remember, 3) Casper, Wyoming, 4) Detroit, and 5) Cleveland (I think).

What are the odds? I guess I didn't see that coming.
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Whoops. I meant 2011 :oops:
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