Thursday, September 24, 2009

When will the season end

The past couple pickups I have had people ask "So when is the season over?" The answer is I don't know, it depends, as so many things in farming do, on the weather, and more specifically our first frost. Once we have that the our pickup days are numbered.

It is easy to point to a day on the calender and say that is our first frost, but what does that mean? It can frost on our farm on a day when the heat-island effect caused by asphalt, dark roofs, and buildings keep cities and suburbs warm enough not to frost.

It can frost on one side of the valley but not the other, or in the valley or not out. Or depending on the wind direction flip that the opposite way and frost up here, but not down there.

It often frosts later by the lake, but not always. And, of course, it does not always pick the same days to frost every year. That would be nice of mother nature, but it is not nearly that easy.

Add to all of that the weather patterns seem to shifting world wide and your guess is as good as mine.

The government is nice enough to put out a chart that tells me at the Akron Canton regional airport there is a 10% we will see frost by October 4th, a 50% chance by October 19th and a 90% chance by Nov 3rd. For a hard frost (28 degrees) which will kill even some "frost tolerant" stuff 10% Oct 20th, 50% Nov 2nd, and 90% Nov 15th. So basically we know in October it will probably frost at some point, although 1 year in 10 it will frost before then and 1 year in 10 after that!
But the question remains, "What about our season?" If everything goes well weather wise our season will run to our full 18 weeks which will put us into the last week of October/first week on November. We can usually go a week or two past the last frost. Some things can happily keep growing past frost, and others you may see in bulk your last week, enough onions to last you a while, for example. We are just about to start the winter squash, which is a storage item, and we have cover to protect lettuce and beets from lighter frosts. However, if we see an early and hard freeze our season might end a bit quicker then we planned. Right now the forecast looks good for the next two weeks. So keep your fingers crossed...

(Who knew farming would be so tiring on the fingers!)

1 comment:

Karen said...

i am still your faithful reader! I hate the talk of the season ending, where did the time go? I absolutely hate Cleveland winter so the talk of this is depressing.

I have neglected my blog for facebook as well but haven't gotten into the FB games, thank goodness!