The first thing I do at my computer every day is to check the weather. Being a farmer/gardener from birth has made me very locked into this habit. Today is Wednesday – hump day – and the best day to try to figure out what must be done, what may be done (if given enough time), and what can wait until a later date. This was the forecast for the next seven days as of this morning from TWC (The Weather Channel.com)
Brush, CO (80723) Weather
Observed at 7:07 am MST
|Sunny||64° 26°||0%||WSW 8 mph||34%||3 of 10||6:47 am||5:30 pm||10:29 pm||9:22 am|
|Sunny||70° 28°||0%||SSW 7 mph||24%||3 of 10||6:46 am||5:31 pm||11:26 pm||9:53 am|
|Sunny||63° 32°||0%||NW 12 mph||30%||3 of 10||6:44 am||5:32 pm||—||10:25 am|
|Mostly Sunny||66° 40°||0%||SSE 12 mph||41%||3 of 10||6:43 am||5:33 pm||12:22 am||11:00 am|
|Mostly Sunny||72° 44°||0%||S 15 mph||34%||3 of 10||6:42 am||5:34 pm||1:17 am||11:37 am|
|Partly Cloudy||64° 37°||0%||NNW 15 mph||30%||3 of 10||6:40 am||5:36 pm||2:10 am||12:20 pm|
|Sunny||75° 37°||0%||WNW 11 mph||22%||3 of 10||6:39 am||5:37 pm||3:02 am||1:06 pm|
Specifically look at the HIGH/LOW column – 60’s and 70’s – WHAT? This is February for heaven sake! It is supposed to read minus something to maybe 30°F if we are lucky. How are we supposed to prep and plant for this?
We have done as we normally do, started seeds. The long-term stuff like pumpkins, melons, squash; these all take forever to grow. We usually get a kick out of going over notes from previous years to determine just what worked or didn’t work. Some things planted too early can lead to quite a mess. Huge plants with nowhere to put them because the weather is not cooperating.
Well, this year has us really freaked out. The biggest concern is because of what happened about three years ago. We started early going with the nice weather, then April hit and blew us out-of-the-water! We were getting 90+ degrees on Fridays, then 30ish and snow by Monday – within only three days it was changing that hard that fast. Took out most everything we had worked so hard on. Lucky we had the greenhouse with some backup plants in it. The whole fiasco make a mess of our fall harvest that year!
We are only in mid-February and still have at least 60 more days before the end of the deep frost worries. There is no fear in starting potatoes and onions here in March. By the time plants start popping out of the ground, we cover with straw, and any freezes won’t affect them. Something like pumpkins can be toast with the first deep frost even if we cover them with straw.
We did start designing something new to try this year. We want to try to create a winter starter box outside. We have specific places to put the outside crops, and one new on the south side of the house maybe perfect for this trial. It gets full sun – no shade there of any kind. We want to put in a planter box about one foot wide by about twelve feet long and about a foot deep. It would be filled with our own good compost mix and then add the plants (melons in this case). Then we will build a hinged drop cover for the top. The plants should stay small enough that we can let them stretch out in the plot. Then if it drops (or snows) in temps, we just close the top. It will be covered in plastic so that the sun will keep them all nice and cozy, but the evil temps would not hurt them.
So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? Think outside the box, or in our case make a new box. Such is one of our, way too many, thoughts this year. Wish us luck!