Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The climate calendar

Every climate zone and geographical region has its own calendar, and in my opinion it takes at least one year of living there to figure it out.  Even within what a map will tell you should be one climate zone, there's a difference between what folks in a valley of that area can do, versus those who live on hilltops. It's a totally individual thing, based on your own property, which is why it takes awhile to learn.

Right now, for instance, we are hustling to finish re-fencing a few parts of the property, put in a few additional landscaping plants on the west side of our back yard, and add/remove drip irrigation where it's needed, or not. We are striving to have all this done in the next month or so, because around May, the temperatures can sometimes get too hot to do much except water, and you'd better have your drip system already in place and working by that time or you'll be standing outside in the heat with a hose at least once a day, twice a day if its over 100 degrees.  

It doesn't always happen that way, but it can, so you have to plan your tasks around the climate year and what it's reasonably expected to produce in terms of conditions.

And the "push" here involves getting things done due to physical limits on what you can reasonably do in the heat, more than anything else. In other parts of the country, there's a similar push, but it happens in the finish projects by first snowfall, so you're not out working and trying to complete projects with a couple of inches (or feet) of snow on the ground.

And so we work with our yearly calendar, with dates marked only in our minds, as the time when we know it all needs to be done so we can retire to the shelter of the house.  It's one of the advantages to staying in a homestead for many years, as you learn over time when the winds come, what conditions bring out the aphids, and when to plant tomatoes if you want to start harvesting in July instead of August.

For us, there's a slim window for spring tasks --  a time between when wind has finally dropped but when it's not yet too hot to plant. We're approaching that window soon, and so I expect the next 8 weeks will be busy ones in the garden.

One of the things I love about this life is that our reliance on the calendar is not so much the calendar of days, but the calendar of seasons. Windy season, frost season, heat season.

What about you?  When are your "busy zones" on the calendar of seasons?


  1. Well, I won't be complaining (too loudly, anyhow) about trying to beat the snow then! Trying to beat the heat... huh. Funny, it never crossed my mind that some folks might have that to worry about. Hopefully you'll have time to get everything done!

    It is funny how we automatically do certain things during different seasons. It is like you said, "dates marked only in our minds," I like that, it's so true.

  2. Well, if it's any consolation, I often forget it can still snow in certain parts of the country around this time. For some reason I'm conscious of it in fall and winter, but not so much spring. That's probably because the heat starts nipping at our heels about this time of year and snow is just hard to imagine.

  3. Haha I try my best to follow some sort of weather related timeline for my garden...but the weather here is so unpredictable here that often we just garden on any/all nice days we have. Usually the 4th of July weather sets the tone for the rest of the summer. But I can tell you regardless of that year's weather, the fall color will always peak October 8-10. And the first peony always magically seems to open on my birthday. This year will be the ultimate test! My peonies are barely awake.

    1. It's amazing to me that you've had such a long, cold winter...I hope it ends soon and that you get at least a few peonies on your B-Day! At least fall is on schedule every year for you. For us it seems to get later and later every year.