Gardeners Getting Itchy Fingers

I thought we were set for a bit of warm weather with the teaser at the end of last week. But, alas, with the snow yesterday and the frigid, soggy weather today it looks like warm weather has once again escaped us… for a bit anyway. Farmers and gardeners alike are anxious to put this very cold winter behind us and enjoy some warm sunshine.

And, those perennial plants might have some trouble early on with the yo-yoing temperatures. Remember May 2017 with the frost that came well after many had planted those precious tomatoes? While we might not experience a frost, we are definitely behind in terms of growing degree days when compared to the last six years.

What are growing degree days?   Growing Degree Days are a measurement of the growth and development of plants and insects during the growing season. Development does not occur at this time unless the temperature is above a minimum threshold value (base temperature). The base temperature varies for different organisms and is determined through research and experimentation. Due to placement variation (location of plants – shade/sun, etc) and some other scientific considerations, a base temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit is considered acceptable for all plants and insects. Learn what the growing degree days for your location here. On April 17, 2018, Troy, Ohio was at 121 growing degree days, which is the lowest it has been in six years. In 2017, the same day was 294 days and in 2016 it was 210 days. This means insects and plants are not maturing as fast as they previously have.

In other words, “we are behind.” But, no fear. It will eventually warm up. Plants will bloom and leaf out. And, the bugs will mature. In the meantime, utilize the website https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/gdd/default.asp to learn to predict and identify when insects will emerge and when to think about controlling them.