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Monday, May 23, 2011

Small Talk: How about the weather?

I don't know about you, but we've had a beautiful spring here in sunny North Carolina. We've had plenty of rain but not TOO much rain (sorry for those of you in the rain-soaked midwest!), and while we had a few weeks of warmer the normal temperatures back in April, the first few weeks of May have been pretty close to normal and even a little below normal - lots of nice days in the 70s!

But yesterday at Raleigh Durham International Airport, they recorded our first 90 degree day of the "summer". Last year, we set a record with 93 days of 90 degree weather, the first of which came on May 2. In fact, by this time last year, we'd already had 6 days of 90 degree temps.

For those of you that aren't familiar with North Carolina weather, it does get hot here in the summer, but the average high in July and August is 89 - so it's not supposed to be *that* hot. Last fall, I had someone at the State Climate Office send me a spreadsheet with the daily high temperatures since 1950, and in the previous 10 years (2000-2009) the average number of 90 degree days has been 52. In fact, in only TWO previous summers did we even surpass 70 days of 90 degree weather - 72 days in 1953, and 83 days in 2007.

Needless to say, the extreme heat made gardening difficult. Most of my tomatoes last year were in containers - a couple of Topsy Turvys and the rest in 12" plastic pots. In both cases, I would water my plants in the morning, and they'd be bone dry by the time I got home rom work. This is not a good way to raise tomatoes!

This week it's supposed to be in the 90s all week, but back down to the mid 80s on the weekend. I hope that yesterday's 90 degree day was the first of less than 70 such days, and that we're not on our way to another ridiculously hot summer.

As for my tomatoes - well I have eight of them in the ground this year, two in Topsy Turvy's, and seven in containers - one in a 13 gallon pot, 4 of them in 5 gallon self-watering buckets, and 2 in smaller containers (but they are smaller tomatos too).

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