2019 Central Ohio Spring Weather/El Nino Update

A few days ago the National Weather Service updated its 3 month temperature and precipitation forecast to reflect the El Nino formation.  A weak El Nino has formed with a 55% chance to persist through spring.  El Nino can affect our Ohio Valley weather.

What does this mean for central Ohio backyard growers, community gardeners and urban farmers?  Right now the chances are showing that we have the potential for near normal precipitation with slightly warmer temperatures.

A chance for warmer than normal temperature is expected


Predictions favor normal amounts of precipitation for the season.


Weather predictions are important as a guide for planning and planting.  If these predictions hold true we may have a favorable spring planting season upcoming.


2019 Early Spring Weather Predictions and Planting Guide

Here are the climate map predictions from NOAA/NWS for the period through April.

Prediction for precipitation shows a chance for drier weather through April


Temperatures are forecast to be slightly cooler through April


What does this mean for the backyard grower, community gardener or urban farmer?  This means a fair chance for some early spring growing and an early harvest, especially when using season extension.  I would not put all my eggs in one basket due to the lower temperature percentage, but the choice of cold tolerant crops may pay off.  If the model would have predicted warmer weather for this period I would have considered a full scale up in spring vegetable planting.  Right now I will sow regular amounts for the season.


Those growers who planted spinach under low tunnels using row cover, be mindful of any good chance to break the micro-climate and get a harvest.  The 66 degree Sunday we had recently was just such a day.  Very soon the increased amount of sunlight will cause a surge in rapid growth. 


If you have not already started, now is a good time to start seeds of several vegetable varieties under the lights of your seed start station.  If you are using seed that is from a prior year,  Check Out the Seed Viability Post on Growing Franklin.

Seeds that can be started indoors now:

  • Lettuce
  • Brassicas – cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Asian greens, etc
  • Onion family, including leeks
  • Artichokes – get a short season variety

This planting time will have the lettuce ready to go into the ground in early March.  There is a chance of poor weather that may prevent planting.  Still the risk is worth it.  Follow up with serial plantings of lettuce and Asian greens every two weeks for the next two to three months for a continuous harvest.


Small Farm Conference and Trade Show in Piketon on March 29th and 30th

Come visit the Small Farm Conference and Trade Show at OSU South Centers in Piketon on March 29th and 30th.  A wide variety of educational tracks will be offered.   See the class listings below.  This is a great opportunity for the urban farmer or producer to learn about a number of topics related to production.

Click the image below to enlarge.


CLICK HERE for registration details, event brochure and details of class listing.