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One day after the solstice...

Hot enough for ya?

What's the weather like where you are?

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Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

As my roommate calls it. Where you step outside and your balls turn to soup.

It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the humidity, as always.

My question, and one I haven't seen discussed, is how much will the Oil FAIL affect the weather. I know the ocean is one of the major things that regulates our weather patterns and planet temperatures, and I can't help but wonder if its going to have further reaching consequences.

Submitted by Anne on

is what we call it at my house; with three dogs, we know something about that!

It's the humidity that makes the heat so brutal, and I live in the country where it's usually 10 degrees cooler than in the asphalt jungle. Not much help when the dew point is in the 70's, but the grass and the tomatoes and the flowers are all loving it, and growing like weeds.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

it's so damned hot here that my weeds aren't even growing like weeds.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

like a tender annual in the sun and humidity.

planting is done. backfilling some stuff that didn't come up, but otherwise, it's ready to go to phase two: set it and forget it. or: mulching! mulch, mulch, mulch...

i'm about to do a post on hydroponic gardening. seriously. for a lot of reasons, it's time to Step Up to the Next Generation of home farming. i am not going to be able to work this hard when i'm 55. or maybe with yoga i will, but damn if i'll want to, every day. don't get me wrong, i absolutely love being outside, listening to birds, watching the dragonflies, my dog rolling in the grass... it's wonderful. but i was reading over at a hard core home farmer's blog, and she says that her hoophouse has made all the difference. "i don't feel so harried and rush in the spring anymore. i used to suffer from GetItDoneNow-itis. the hoophouse changed all that." similarly, i think a decent hydro system would totally change my work schedule from superbusy for several months straight to a more leisurely pace.

right now, i get up before the sun and try to get in a few hours of work in the morning, and then a bit after the dinner hour. it's just too hot to do lots of work in the beds themselves in the heat. i have a nice list of small, work in the margins/shade projects that take up the hot daytime hours. today i made a globe out of twigs and twine, for the morning glories to climb. it should look pretty cool.

Submitted by lambert on

On the greenhouse: I've been thinking of the exact same thing, but what I'd really like is for it to be heated in some way, so I could go year-round (and win major points in the town in the winter). I love my winter-seeding jugs, but I'm thinking I could really get a jump on plants with a longer season. This one at Lowe's for $800 looks interesting -- yeah, yeah, I know I should build my own, but if I add up the materials and the time it would take to learn, maybe not. I guess I'm thinking green house, not hoophouse, because the greenhouse could actually be somewhat heated, perhaps with manure over gravel. (This one, too: notice the words "retain heat" in the description. Or this, with "snow load.") And here is a green houses site. And a review site.

On the hydro: At some point, the soaker hoses and the milk jugs don't make it, and there has to be an easy way to make a little Roman aqueduct system with PVC pipe that has a timer on it -- if only because it would make it easier to take time off in the summer.

So, I will be very, very interested to know your thinking on this!

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

A friend bought a small greenhouse last year, and it has been a wonderful thing to have. Meyer lemon tree, kumquat, he grows them year 'round in the greenhouse.

If you are interested, here is a greenhouse place that sells mail order. They carry a wide variety of types and sizes at a wide variety of prices. Check it out.

Submitted by lambert on

... as an argument for not growing outdoors in a greenhouse. But OR is overcast a lot, yes? And this works for you?

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

Many gray days. Nobody's growing tomatoes in the winter in their greenhouses and hoop houses, but greens and lettuces are abundant. Here in Portland we now have a few year 'round farmers' markets. They bring chard, kale, onions, potatoes, cabbage, etc. The basic fall/winter stuff. All of it growing on farms around Portland.

If you start your winter garden early enough (here mid-July is the latest time to plant most seeds for the fall/winter) then the late summer sunlight gives the plants the boost they need to spark growth. If I waited until Sept. to plant, say, kale, I wouldn't get a crop until the next spring. If I plant next month, and this ridiculous rain finally goes away, then all I need is a hoop house to protect the plants from the wind and cold and any snow that might come our way.

If I had a greenhouse with heat I could, like my friend, have year 'round meyer lemons.

Even with our cloudy winters, growing wholesale nursery stock is a mega agricultural industry in western Oregon. Our advantage over Michigan and Maine is that our winters are milder temp-wise. And in the Willamette Valley we don't usually get much snow.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

And raining.

And I have to take the subway. Which means I'm standing below ground with no air-conditioning waiting for the train.

And darnit, my hair looks horrible. (Jewfros do not do well in this type of humidity.)

Ah well. Aruba in 4 days!!! wwwwooooooohoooooooooo

caseyOR's picture
Submitted by caseyOR on

It has been a dismally cold and wet spring here in the maritime NW. Today we not only had sun, the temp hit the mid-70s. We've been setting records left and right for the lowest high temperature. Maybe, maybe, Wed. and Thurs. will be sunny, too.

I'm going to spend Thursday, if it's dry, re-planting, yet again, the beans and the carrots and the lettuce. God, I hope this time it takes.

I know the rest of the country is in the midst of miserable heat, but what I wouldn't give for a week in the high 80s.

On the subject of hoop houses. I am planning to build one in the hopes of extending my season into the fall/winter this year.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

lambert: don't buy one from the big box store. email me, and i'll give you some links. i think i can do better than that price for something of higher quality.

here in 5b, it's tricky. getting year round growing is tough, and almost always requires a few extra steps that you don't need even in a 6b to keep those internal temps steady. people like lambert and i are cursed by light issues as well. all the insulation and quality paneling in the world won't make a difference if it's perma-overcast. i will do a post on this and share some of what i have come across. bottom line: unless i'm suddenly flush with money, chances are if i build outdoors i'll go with a hoophouse, instead of a glass or plastic greenhouse. cheaper, simpler, and for what you get out of both technologies, about the same.

but should i build outside? increasingly, that is a question i am not sure about. hydro and aeroponics are looking better and better. even combining the technologies and having a hoophouse with a hydro or aero system is sounding better all the time. people with disease issues should strongly consider them, as the lack of soil, weeds and pests go a long way in helping control those problems. cheaper technology, faster growing, up to 10x the productivity of traditional growing in soil... there seems to be so many benefits to hydro systems, i am thinking the greenhouse is a great idea as a luxury, but is outdated as a growing environment.

Submitted by lambert on

Excellent point on the overcast. On the other hand, there's no bill for the sun.

On hydro -- I see the argument on 10x, but I think taste is important, too (politically and not just sensually, if the two are distinct) and I think vegetables grown in soil are bound to taste better. (I've tried hydroponic tomatoes, and they just are not interesting).

On hoophouse vs. greenhouse: The hoophouses I've seen, with the plastic covering, get ratty looking (and not insulated) real fast, from the wind (and I have a strong wind from the north). Also, their necessarily semi-circular roof line means that tall people have difficulty standing up in them (for a given amount of surface area) and surely it's possible to get more shelving in with straight sides? Finally, call me mercenary, but I'm also thinking of "curb appeal" for the house, much greater with a greenhouse.

It seems to me that the thing to do for the overcast is to optimize the plants, rather than create artificial light. Something is always possible.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

light is essential. no doubt. but it seems to me the whole point of show off winter growing is to be able to grow stuff like maters and peppers. i'm not talking commercial here, just "what do i want, and when do i want it?" i know people who grow light hungry stuff in winter, it can be done. design is key. using technology that allows a hungry plant to thrive in grey skies but with heat? it should be possible, with the right nutrient mix. this shouldn't be beyond the reach of the home grower.

solar panels, thermal passive heating, light concentrating design, hydro and aero growing... all these technologies and more allow us to cultivate crops that once simple greenhouse technology did not afford in cooler climates without a significant energy investment.