April 12, 2017
Today's Tools for Weather
Good gardeners keep an eye on the weather. Great gardeners are obsessed with it.
My grandmother made sure she had her trusty Farmers' Almanac close at hand whenever she was making any gardening decision. The Farmers' Almanac claims to have an accuracy of 80% or sometimes higher. To make their forecasts they use a "secret formula that is locked in a black box."
I prefer to use more updated forecast projections that are based on transparent science by meteorologists, and I would encourage you to do the same.
Anticipating the weather helps us to time planting, fertilizing, and irrigating, as well as other landscape maintenance activities. If it's going to be really hot and dry, it might be best to postpone planting. If there's a tropical depression sitting on top of Florida, applied fertilizer will most likely get leached down past the root zone or be lost to run-off.
Gardeners need to pay attention to the five-day forecast and the projected long-term forecast. We have excellent tools to help us like the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN). They have weather stations across Florida. The reports and data there will help you to see trends in rainfall and chill-hour accumulation for your specific area of Florida.
Use the best weather technology available to you, and if you're still using the Farmers' Almanac, do a comparison to see how accurate they really are.
-- Wendy Wilber