This challenging growing environment has persisted with above normal temperatures and variable rainfall as was predicted by NOAA/NWS last month. This has affected spring vegetables which have bolted from the heat or matured in poor condition. Blossom drop in tomatoes and peppers from the extreme heat may affect production amounts later in the summer.
Two updates for backyard growers, community gardeners and urban farmers are provided:
1.) Weather predictions for the summer months of 2018 indicate higher than normal temperatures and the chance for greater than normal rainfall. This can put pressure on summer vegetable production as well as predispose to fungal disease like powdery mildew or blight. Careful scouting for signs of disease as well as monitoring for adequate rainfall using a rain gauge is critical.
2.) This past winter the climate in central Ohio was affected by the La Nina weather phenomenon. Recently a watch was issued for the El Nino weather phenomenon with chances of the occurring at 65% for winter 2018-2019. What does this generally mean for central Ohio growers if it occurs? El Nino winters in the central Ohio area average warmer than normal temperatures and lower than normal snowfall amounts. This is important long range data for growers as it can affect plans for season extended plantings in low tunnels under row cover or using high tunnels as different varieties tolerate different temperature ranges.
Growing Franklin will continue to monitor the climate prediction center to assist the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer plan accurately to maximize production.