April 2020, Week 2
Good Morning and Happy Easter.
There's nothing good about the weather early in the week, so let's start there. Portions of Oklahoma have potential severe weather today, with hazards including tornadoes (a low chance), hail up to the size of baseballs (mostly in SC or SE OK), and strong wind gusts up to 60 mph associated with those storms. In the rest of the state, it is the wind that will be a huge issue first, as the cold front sweeps across the state. Depending on your location in the state, you could have wind gusts up to 50 or 55 mph associated with the passage of the cold front. The further south and east you are, the lower the gusts, but even in those areas, gusts of 30-40 mph are expected. Tie down those tomato plants, lol, and bring all your flats indoors before the wind hits. If you aren't sure of the timing of the wind for your area, you can check your NWS forecast office's webpage. I know that the Norman webpage has a map showing the timing for various areas, so I'll link that here.
Tonight the cold weather rolls in and many portions of the state are under a Freeze Warning at the present time for the overnight hours. Even if your county is not included in the Freeze Warning right now, keep an eye on your forecast because sometimes they extend the Freeze Warning to more areas late in the day as it becomes apparent to them that a larger area might freeze. Sometimes it is really frustrating because they'll add more areas to the warning well after dark, or even after most people's bedtimes.....as if anyone will jump up out of bed and run outdoors to cover up plants.
The cold weather continues for two more nights. I don't know about anybody else's forecast, but for our location, the coldest forecast lows actually are for Tuesday night, and the numbers keep changing, We'll be protecting the tomato plants in large pots with frost blankets all 3 nights. There's only six of them out there in large pots, but most of them have fruit on them and all of them are in bloom. We have six other large pots ready to plant, but I held off on transplanting tomatoes into them last week, preferring to wait until this cold spell is over. We'll be in the 30s each night, they say, so that's close enough to danger as far as I'm concerned. All the plants in the veggie garden are on their own as most are perennial and would survive even a hard freeze, albeit perhaps with some damage.
As always here in Oklahoma, a period of relatively nice, warm to sometimes hot weather is being interrupted by a big blast of cold. Maybe after this cold weather passes through and moves on at midweek we'll be able to resume normal April gardening tasks.
Garden chores for this week after the cold has moved on likely can and will include planting, weeding, mulching, and perhaps the continue harvest of asparagus and some other cool-season plants. We've also worked really hard this weekend to get as much mowing done as we could, working around rain showers and such, since a significant amount of rain is possible here and if it falls, we won't be able to mow for the rest of the week.
Everything outside looks spectacular there his morning. We have the most bluebonnets in bloom that we've ever had and they and the other wildflowers mixed in with them are putting on a spectacular show. Mostly they are blooming with Indian paintbrush, but also some poppies, baby blue eyes and the ever-present wild onions and crows poison. The first native phlox plants are blooming in the bar ditch now. Dutch Irises are booming down by the driveway gate near the bluebonnets, and bearded Irises are blooming in the garden, along with dianthus, a long row of chives and other miscellaneous perennials, including comfrey. A few hours of cold won't hurt any of these significantly. We have had clouds all morning after a little rain, but much more thunder than rain, in the early morning hours, but the sunshine has broken out in the last few minutes
I hope everyone is able to protect their plants from both the winds and the cold, as well as from any hail that falls if you're in an area where severe thunderstorms are possible today.
Here we are, just the same as every April, doing our best to protect our plants from whatever crazy weather Mother Nature decides to throw at us. It occurs to me that the April Fool's holiday is wasted on people who are not gardeners. We, who plant and tend our plants in April rejoicing in the lovely weather, are the true April Fools because we know that at any time the weather can come barreling through and ruin everything, or at least make us work extra hard to keep the weather from ruining everything.
Maybe, after this cold front passes through at midweek, the weather finally will settle down. I haven't looked ahead to see what is lurking after Wednesday because, frankly, if there is any more bad weather news out there, I don't want to hear it yet.