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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

The weather has been relatively warm and sunny lately, so I decided Earth Day would be a good time to start spring planting, somewhat earlier than usual.

Harper supervises planting in the early-season bed on Earth Day.

Harper supervises planting in the early-season bed on Earth Day.

I also wanted to introduce my new garden helper, Harper. She is a 3-year-old yellow lab I adopted on March 31 from BrightSide Animal Center, where I serve on the board of directors.
She’s a good dog, but I have to watch her in the vegetable garden. She likes to eat the asparagus as soon as it comes up!

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Still harvesting beautiful tomatoes in late October -- amazing!

Still harvesting beautiful tomatoes in late October — amazing!

Growing vegetables is not easy in the high desert climate of Central Oregon, where nights are cold and days are dry and windy. But this summer we’ve had the most favorable weather conditions I’ve seen in the past 10 years: very warm nights all summer, and that’s persisted into late October. Still harvesting tomatoes, chard, raspberries, strawberries, green beans, winter squash. Have yet to dig potatoes and carrots. This has been the harvest that won’t quit. But today irrigation will get blown out for the winter, so time to do final harvest and start cleaning up.

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Thriving summer and winter squash, eggplant, onions. At left, raspberries. In background, beets, asparagus, lettuce, swiss chard, radishes and carrots.

Thriving summer and winter squash, eggplant, onions, brussels sprouts. At left, raspberries. In background, beets, asparagus, lavender, lettuce, swiss chard, radishes and carrots.

In the high desert of Central Oregon we typically have a short growing season because even when the days are very warm, nights are cool enough (below 50 degrees) that plants stop growing until it warms up the next morning. This delays maturity by about two weeks.
This year, however, we’ve had unusually warm evenings, as well as unusually hot days in July. That extra warmth — plus a lot of regular watering — gave us vegetables on steroids this year.

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Bluebird days ahead

After several days of snow — welcome moisture for plants in winter, when irrigation is turned off — the day dawned clear, cold, crystalline. More of the same is forecast the next few days.

Frosty morning.

A post shared by Jan Even (@janeteven) on

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Garden cloche

A garden cloche to protect frost-sensitive plants is much easier to build and far less expensive than a greenhouse. Photo courtesy of Oregon State University Extension Service.

We grow our tomatoes in cloches, so on cold nights we close up each cloche and we’re able to keep our plants several degrees warmer. You can get directions for how to build one from Oregon State University extension service.
Green tomatoes

If they are mature enough, green tomatoes can be ripened indoors. Photo by Judy Scott, OSU Extension Service.

If the overnight lows get down into the mid-20s, even a cloche is not going to save tomatoes. But you can pick them green and successfully ripen them indoors. Learn how. We do this every year and make sauce or salsa in the fall to enjoy all winter.

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Because of sub-freezing nights last week, we had to delay planting starts of tender veggies until yesterday. So it was a long day of planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil. In August, we’ll reap the rewards.

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