How to Predict the Weather for Your Gardening Chores

Collecting weather data specific to your landscape will help you tailor your gardening chores, improve plant selection and placement, and reduce the risk that extreme conditions will injure beloved plants.You can easily construct home weather gauges to help you quantify wind and rain. Other important data collection is mostly a matter of knowing the best way to use what you already have.

How to Predict the Weather for Your Gardening Chores

Here are some simple tips to help you plan your landscaping and gardening chores around the weather conditions. Knowing the weather conditions will help you preapre days ahead to ensure you get the most out of your plants.

Do it Yourself

Always rely on your own temperature readings. Published reports may vary several degrees from the temperature in your locale,which makes a difference when temperatures are expected to be very high or very low.

Where to Put a Thermometer?

For the most accurate reading, place it in a spot that receives no direct sun.

Frost Warnings

Frost warnings. Under certain conditions, a thermometer set 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the ground can show a temperature up to 15°F (27°C) higher than one at ground level. So, if the temperature reads 45°F (7°C) at that height, there can still be frost damage to tender, lowgrowing plants.

Use a Rain Gauge

Use a rain gauge to measure precipitation levels accurately. Improvize with a simple homemade version. Cut off the top third of a large plastic bottle, slide the top upside down into the base to act as a funnel, and tape the edges together. Mark off the measuring scale with narrow strips of waterproof tape or indelible ink, making the lines 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) apart. If the bottle has the opaque plastic base common to many large soft-drink bottles, fill the base with water before setting the gauge outside.When it rains, check how far up the scale the water has risen. Note the amount, empty the gauge, and refill the base with water.

An Ingenious Tool

Use a maximum-minimum thermometer, available at most discount and home supply stores, to determine your garden’s microclimates. With two separate gauges, it records the highest and lowest temperatures at a certain spot in a given time period. To see if a site for a new apple tree lies in a frost pocket, for example, place the thermometer there for two days. Compare the readings with those from a similar thermometer situated close to your house. A min-max thermometer is also handy in greenhouses or when checking the suitability of windowsills for houseplants.

Predict the Weather

Predict the weather with a trusty barometer, which gauges atmospheric pressure levels. Note that it’s not the actual reading that matters but how the reading changes over time. A rapidly dropping barometer means you can expect unstable weather, and rising pressure usually accompanies clearing skies.

Use Wild Birds as Barometers

Use wild birds as barometers. When barometric pressure is very low, birds fly close to the ground, while high-flying birds indicate higher barometric pressure.

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